We are faced with finding new ways to deliver renewable energy on the one hand, and protecting the environment on the other. The equation is complex whatever the technology and energy source. NEHC believes that small-scale hydropower is a complement to either solar or wind—and far more productive based on capacity factors, especially in the Northeast. Taking into account dry summer periods and frozen winter periods, NEHC can produce power at a 55% capacity factor or better which is several times that of wind and solar. The fuel—water—is plentiful and screw turbines as we use them in run-of-the-river circumstances and in canals do not deplete water or change the flow dynamics.
Designing the two together better manages costs from start to finish. The outcome is reliant on the ability to build responsible passageways along side of small-scale power works while achieving a positive return on investment.
Studies undertaken with key agencies in the United States and in the UK on ASTs have established the fish friendliness of small-scale screw generator sites.
Archimedes Screw Turbine Generators have been evaluated on anadromous, catadromous, and resident species by:
NEHC Injury and Mortality Studies, designed in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, performed over years at our Meriden, Connecticut facility have demonstrated the safety and efficacy of the AST in providing fish passage.
The AST can pass large and small fish at zero mortality and injury rates at all life stages.
Peer-reviewed studies with universities in the UK and Europe have similar findings.
NEHC works with all inland and coastal fisheries agencies to ensure strict compliance with local, state and national objectives and performance standards, as prescribed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as a vital component of the hydropower licensing process.
From concept design to final facility construction, NEHC understands the benefits and values inherent to our waterways, and the competing uses to which we put them: source water for drinking, fishing, boating, habitat support. We are sensitive to cultural and historic significance so important to local communities
That is why NEHC only considers projects at existing, non-powered dams that still serve as flood control mechanisms, water supply regulators, aesthetic and recreational assets, and vital habitat support. We do not construct new dams and we do not re-engineer or enhance any dam to augment the power of the flowing water. Our goal is to ensure our projects are truly low impact.
Local wisdom, experience, and vision are integral to the development of successful, beneficial projects. Knowing that, we reach out to owners, and to communities and their leaders as partners and collaborators early in the evaluation of every proposed site.
Our experience has been that wherever we go there are well-educated agency stewards and policy makers; and equally, there are knowledgeable community advocates, environmentalists, conservationists, researchers, historians, and engineers. We proactively engage with these experts in order to bring the value of their expertise to our work before we resolve to move forward on a project.
Hydropower licensing is not a simple process. One size does not fit all, and each site presents individual characteristics. The licensing process compels defined knowledge and skill in a vast array of subjects, but working inclusively and transparently, we have had success. We are in the business of building partnerships and associations because that is the way we will most efficiently bring low-impact hydropower to the marketplace.