Business, News, North America, Small Hydro

Energy Cast Podcast: Installing conduit hydropower with NLine Energy


Energy Cast is a podcast featuring some of the top experts across all links in the energy industry chain, including hydropower, renewables, generation and more! Jay Dauenhauer created the show and has been hosting Energy Cast for several years.

For this episode, I wanted to explore the growing field of conduit hydropower — using man-made structures to create electricity.

California-based NLine Energy is a national leader in the field. Since forming in 2010, they have captured over 90% of California’s sub-5 MW development in that state. Since 2016, they have developed operations in 14 states.

As that would imply, conduit hydroelectric does not typically produce the mega-wattage of conventional hydroelectric dams. However, NLine says that some of their clients are actually able to net-meter excess power to the grid. Their San Gabriel Valley Water Company project has resulted in that group not paying an electric bill since 2013!

Click below to listen to the full episode:

I am a big fan of conventional hydroelectric, especially when only 3% of America’s 80,000 dams are electrified. My guest says this is the future of hydroelectricity, especially because regulations make the technology much easier to implement. What’s more, many states classify conduit hydropower as renewable energy, and many more classify it as energy efficiency.

My guest, NLine President, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Matt Swindle, says the company uses several technologies to find solutions for each client. He says the main source of energy comes from drops in elevation, which increase head pressure in pipes, and must be regulated with pressure reducing valves. The company will typically install a hydroelectric turbine-generator in parallel with a pressure-reducing station and uses the excess pressure to make energy. Matt says there are tens of thousands of pressure-reducing valves around the U.S. (This podcast originally aired in November 2018.)

Read more about hydroelectric: Mojave Water Agency to build 820-kW Deep Creek small hydroelectric project

Energy Cast Podcast is hosted biweekly by Jay Dauenhauer.

Learn more about the podcast here.

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