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The Role of Renewables
Summit Hydropower - Avon Connecticut

Renewable energy is energy from a non-depleting source. Common renewable technologies include hydro, wind, solar photo voltaic, solar thermal, biomass, tidal, wave and geothermal.

New Englandís energy mix is as follows:
Natural Gas 37%
Nuclear 33%
Oil/gas combination 8.6%
Non hydro renewables 7.8%
Conventional hydro 6.4%
Coal 5.6%
Pump storage hydro 1.1%
Oil 0.3%

Chart of New England's Energy Mix

SHI's philosophy is that our society consumes electricity and the electricity must be generated from generating plants somehow, somewhere. The best way to reduce negative impacts of generating plants is to conserve our use and thus use less. However, even with the employment of the best conservation practices we will still need generating plants. With current technology there is no single renewable generating technology that can supply all of our electricity needs while providing the lowest environmental impact. We cannot obtain all of our electricity from just hydro, solar, wind, biomass, etc. In Connecticut, about 10% of our electricity is from hydro, 75% of which is from Hydro Quebec. Nationally, hydro provides about 7% of our electricity.

The answer is to develop and utilize all renewable sources of electricity that, when prudently analyzed, provide the greatest benefits with the lowest negative impacts.

SHI also believes that renewables need and deserve incentives in the form of financial assistance. This is justified due to the additional benefits that renewables provide our society and our environment as compared to non-renewable plants. However we do not believe in providing incentives that result in 'renewables at any cost'. There is a limit.

For example it does not make sense to spend 1 million dollars on a renewable project if it only produces 500,000 kWH per year (unless there are some very site-specific overwhelming benefits for a particular project). Although SHI has not utilized any grants or low interest loans we believe that such incentives, whether from the CT Clean Energy Fund, DOE, or US Government, are all monies derived from the pockets of hard working citizens. There is no such thing as 'free money'. Each and every dollar of incentive money was earned by some citizen thus it should be utilized wisely and efficiently.

Now is a good time to promote hydro. Ironic as it may seem, one of the worlds greatest projects, the Hoover Dam, was built in the midst of the great depression in the 1930's. President Herbert Hoover did a bold move by promoting this huge project in tough times. The dam project employed 21,000 people, and has an installed capacity of about 2,000 MW. As a comparison, Connecticut's demand is about 5,000 MW.

Wyre Wynd Hydro >>

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