Editorial: Cowichan municipalities should look into in-pipe power generation

Editorial: Cowichan municipalities should look into in-pipe power generation

No mega-projects, with mega-budgets needed.

Generating energy just by turning on the tap?

Believe it. It’s a method of generating green energy that we think municipalities, including ours in the Cowichan Valley, and higher levels of government, should be looking into across the country.

A CBC article gave some details of the project, which was piloted in 2014. A turbine was installed in a single water pipe in a Halifax suburb. That one turbine has been generating about enough electricity every year to power 25 homes. Think about the potential of this.

There is no massive infrastructure that needs to be built and kept in repair. Apparently, most water systems in North America already meet conditions for such an installation. Water systems aren’t something that’s going to go out of style and people are going to continue to turn on their taps, keeping the water in the system flowing. Imagine how much power could be generated by an urban area, or by a farm that is irrigating crops. No mega-projects, with mega-budgets needed.

We think it’s definitely worth a closer look by our local municipal staff. We can’t even count how many water system upgrades and new systems have been installed in Cowichan over the last 10 years or so, and how many are set to come online. Imagine the possibilities if each new system also included a turbine to generate electricity. If this technology is indeed as promising as it appears, the municipality could make it mandatory for all new systems, and could gradually retrofit old systems as they are repaired or replaced. Which is where provincial and federal dollars should come in. This would be a real, concrete investment in green energy that is practical and makes sense.

In our new energy future there will not be one single energy generator, as there was in the past, for the most part, with fossil fuels. Our new energy grid will be powered by hydro, solar, tidal, wind and more. Taking hydro to the next level with in-pipe generation can be a part of that mosaic.

Come on local municipalities, what are you waiting for?

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