A constant struggle for city leaders is maintaining infrastructure. Across the country roads are crumbling, bridges are in disrepair, and pipes are bursting. In fact, a recent assessment gave the US a D+ for an inability to maintain its once stellar infrastructure. On top of this, the costs of maintenance, repair and renovation, is increasingly being shifted to regional and local governments. Coupled with new mandates and calls for constructing renewable climate friendly solutions—cities can often seem overwhelmed by these enormous projects.
It is not often that city and municipal leaders are able to take on both of these concerns, but new technology may just change that. An innovative company out of Portland has recently developed a new type of water pipe embedded with turbines for power generation—turning them into instant clean energy producers. The pipes use the steady flow of water to generate electricity, just as a hydroelectric dam would.
The pipes provide predictable clean energy generation, and can be used by cities that already have plans for infrastructure development projects in the works. The new technology is being tested in cities from Southern California to Portland Oregon—and cities across the globe are already lining up. Mayors and city officials now have greater options for making much needed infrastructure renovations, and developing clean energy solutions—a clear win for the communities they serve.
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It’s a renewable energy source, but hydropower has its pitfalls. Its dams can kill fish and other marine life and majorly disrupt habitat, and they can also end up emitting significant amounts of greenhouse gases — a side effect that many of hydro’s fellow renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, don’t share.
But there’s one place with near-constant running water that can be tapped for energy without causing environmental problems: cities’ drinking water pipes. LucidEnergy, a Portland, Oregon-based startup that launched in 2007, is starting to capture the energy of water pipes, beginning with a pilot project in Riverside, California and now with a full-scale project in Portland.
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