We cannot build renewable power sources without owners who are good stewards of their property and who really want to engage the idea that their dam sites could benefit them and their communities. That goes for private, state, and municipal owners. Conversely, we will not be able to develop clean energy sites if we do not understand owner’s goals—for their businesses, their state and their cities and towns. Our efforts are to find common ground for each individual opportunity and to open a conversation once the potential for a site has been evaluated.
Applying over 10 years of experience with partners in the UK and Europe, NEHC designs, owns, and operates Archimedes Screw Turbine facilities in the United States.
The legacy waterways that powered North America’s development provide a foundation for small-hydro development. Future water management systems can provide new opportunities for hydro generation with smart, early planning.
From the start of a project, there are many interests, regulatory provisions and oversights for waterways in every state. They vary widely, but in virtually every case, the responsible individuals are willing to listen to a solid proposition from NEHC. They understand the pathway through the process to build a site can be complex, but they are always willing to work toward improving the process. We work proactively with these agencies to accomplish our goals, and theirs, as they manage waterway oversight.
NEHC works at sites that are often of historical significance. The waterways, dams and mills provided mechanical energy for building the country—nothing short of that. Many generated, and continue to generate, electrical power. Others are abandoned and unused. NEHC looks at their potential for modern use on a small scale to generate clean, renewable power. But, we do so with great care. Not all dams are useful and the costs to make them “work” are often too high. The environmental barriers can be too sensitive or the location too valued for other purposes.
The Archimedes Screw Turbine technology is remarkably non-invasive. Slow rotation, large chambers of water, safe design, and their run-of-river operation are compatible with fish and other wildlife safety as extensive studies have shown in the UK and in the U. S. The sites our partners have developed in the UK are on important salmon rivers, and they have become an integrated part of the river culture.
NEHC and its team members have and are always ready to communicate and develop long-term relationships with river alliances, historical associations, sportsman and their advocacy groups. As with the case of owners, we believe in aligning the interests of these groups and making the best use of natural resources.
If low-impact, small-scale hydro generation is a partial solution to renewable and clean energy needs, it must also be compatible and in balance with the recreational and historical interests in today’s world.