Is water, the fuel that powers hydroelectric generation, really free?
This question got me ruminating on ways in which water could be priced in a fashion similar to other types of fuel used to generate energy.
It is likely common practice for you to go outdoors and frolic in the rain as you enjoy the free gift of fresh water falling from the sky. But, over what geographic coordinate did cloud water vapor form? At what point did the cloud formation release its contents?
Possibly I think, one could argue chemical make up of water comes to us at no cost. But, the end product is neither free while in the atmosphere and definitely not free once it hits the surface of the earth.
There is cost associated with anything that is produced or distributed from terrestrial locations. Correct?
Actually, I am surprised an Airspace Accumulation Tax (AAT) has yet to be levied on cloud vapor that forms over the airspace of a particular nation, state or city, but disgorges its accumulation over another.
A nation does have sovereignty over its airspace, correct? Science can easily prove geographic location has a direct affect on the formation of cloud vapor. Is it possible to monetize pending atmospheric precipitation?
The way I see it, if I own land from which water flows to your power project, I should be able to charge by volume the amount of water you use to generate electricity. That the atmosphere produces water, which then falls on my property, is not of my concern. That is unless I must pay an AAT.
Harnessing the fruit — in this case water — that flows from my property should allow me to earn income. Thus, I posit water is not free.
I have limited knowledge, but it seems to me based on what I do know, profits earned by local communities, public and private landowners, and governments could be greater if fees were attached to catchment areas and the flow-volume at run-of-river schemes.
Imagine the communities in which locals cannot afford to purchase the energy produced, residents would immediately experience financial benefits from flow and AAT charges levied on power producers and project developers. This type of system might spur increased development in turbine efficiency, scheme bypass systems and unforeseen efforts that minimize impact on existing environment.