Benefits of Hydropower
Summit Hydropower - Avon Connecticut

Hydropower provides our society and the environment with many benefits including;
  • Reduces air pollution and climate change
  • Reduces US dependence on fossil fuel
  • Flood control
  • Recreation
  • Historical enhancements
  • Property tax to towns
  • Economic stimulation
  • Removal of river trash
  • Reduces our nation's energy problems
  • Creates jobs for construction, operation and maintenance


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Summit voluntarily provides additional benefits for citizens by holding school field trips, organizing river activities and installing bridges, portages and paths for recreationists.

Most of our electricity is generated by fossil fuel burning plants. When a hydro plant comes on line it displaces electricity generated from fossil plants effectively causing them to throttle down and thus burn less fossil fuel. Not only does fossil fuel combustion pollute our air but we rely on imports from other countries for most of our oil and the world's finite oil reserves are being quickly depleted. SHI's Wyre Wynd site produces a clean energy equivalent of 17,000 barrels of oil per year. Therefore, one way to look at it is it avoids the importation and burning of 17,000 barrels of oil per year.

Summit has also voluntarily added facilities to enhance fisheries, including eel ladders and fish screen devices.

Additionally, SHI contributes to the economy through the use of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs). 1 REC is equal to 1,000 kWh of renewable generation. For example, a customer may buy 10,000 kWh of electricity from a non-renewable source but if it buys 10 RECs from a renewable source then it is effectively buying 100% renewable energy. SHI sells its REC's to a marketing company that markets them to Connecticut residents who choose to consume renewable energy at their homes.

Visit www.sterlingplanet.com to view options for utilizing renewable electric energy at your home.

How Natural is Natural Gas? 

Fairly recently natural gas and oil in the United States has been extracted by new but environmentally damaging processes called hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling. These methods can cause uncontrolled releases of gas (methane) to our atmosphere, contamination of soil and contamination of ground water. The leaking methane that occurs after drilling has contaminated ground water such that residents have turned on their faucet, put a match to it, and watch flames emit from the faucet!

Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that is 21 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2) and it is being released to our atmosphere at an unknown rate. Researchers at Cornell University and NOAA reported in 2012 in peer-reviewed journals that suggest that emissions of methane cancel any advantages of using natural gas as compared to coal. This release of un burnt gas is more damaging than the emissions from the dirtiest fossil power plants. In essence our mother earth is being punctured by thousands of deep wells then the rock is split under high pressure using an enormous volume of water allowing gas and oil to contaminate our soil, water and air.

In addition there is a tremendous amount of waste water that is produced and must be disposed of. These drilling methods are relatively new and are being touted by the industry, Obama and even the Natural Resources Defense Council as the United States’ answer to our energy problems. A loophole is that this drilling is not being regulated by the federal government, rather, each state is being saddled with controlling it and it is not being adequately regulated.

Public outcry has resulted, for example, in a moratorium in NY; thanks largely to the efforts of Sandra Steingraber (see www.dear-governor-cuomo.com). Unfortunately moratoriums are normally a temporary fix. In many cases land and home owners are paid large sums and asked to sign agreements to keep quiet in exchange for leaving their contaminated property and moving somewhere else. Hydropower reduces these negative impacts by displacing the demand for gas and oil. Every kWh of electricity generated by hydro is a kWh that we do not need to drill and frack for.

"Best job I ever had!"

SHI employee Rick, assembling hydraulic press in workshop.
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The Role of Renewables >>


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