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Hydroelectric


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By Barbara in Wilton, NH on 5/16/2006


We just purchased land on a year-round brook with a small pond and dam. We are looking to possibly do hydroelectric and wanted to know the recommended distance from the source that was possible. We think we are about 200-300 feet away.

Thanks.
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By Peter in Gilford, NH on 5/18/2006


Barbara,

The distance you quoted, is that the distance from the brook to the house or the brook to the power pole?

In general, as distance increases, the wire diameter increases. However, 200-300 is nothing significant. I just put in a buried cable for 250 feet. Nothing special.

Initially I was looking for a property that had a running brook. I figured with a small constantly flowing brook, with a 12-foot drop (very important), I could power 19 homes with a small hydro setup within my budget. I decided to go with a view lot instead of something practical.

Since a small hydro setup can generate a lot more power than you need and you can't store it, you should sell back to the grid. Hence, the distance to the power poll is just as significant as distance to the house.

Peter


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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 5/18/2006


You have a renewable energy source most of us can't have. Here in AZ, it's more cost effective to sell power from solar and wind back to the power company than buying the battery backup system. Also, it's nice to have that grid as an emergency source when your system is down for maintenance.

Some of the decision may hinge upon the local power company "green watts" programs and needs.

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By Barbara in Wilton, NH on 1/2/2007


Thanks for the info. We have been having some difficulty with town approvals just for a driveway. Can't imagine what will happen when we ask about doing hydro. The distance is from the brook to the house. It is probably another 50 feet or so to the pole. We have decided at this point to build the house first and then go for the hydro after. Does anyone have any input or suggestions on the initial building, knowing that we will be changing over to hydroelectric in the future? We will be grid-tied, so it seemed easier to get into the house first.

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By Bill in Seattle, WA on 1/2/2007


There won't really be anything special about the house, as far as adding micro hydro later. Doesn't really sound like you have enough water volume though. But if you do, I recommend a shed out by the dam to house the inverter, and a buried drop back to the house. If you can find a higher voltage micro-hydro unit, like 400V-600V, then you will have less wire losses and can do without the shed.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/2/2007


Why is your town giving you problems over the driveway?

As far as the house is concerned, build as energy efficient as you can. It's better to reduce the square footage and increase the insulation quality. Use something like SIP's for a cost effective, high insulated, airtight shell.

I would think the power company would be willing to answer some of your hydro-related questions. Do they have a green watts program?

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/2/2007


Barbara, have you talked with the guys over at Advanced Energy? Their office is there in Wilton.

Who is your local power company? If it's one of the public utility companies, they should have a renewable energy office with someone who can give you some additional info, especially if you are intending on selling green power back to them on a net-zero program.

Also, you may want to check out the state report on renewable energy:

puc.state.nh.us/Electric
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By Barbara in Wilton, NH on 1/4/2007


No, I have not heard of Advanced Energy, I will have to check them out. I believe the local utility is PSNH. They do have some programs. The manufacturers of our cedar home kit say it will qualify for an Energy Star home rating if we build it according to their specifications.

Thanks for the tip. I will definitely check it out.

Barbara
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By Barbara in Wilton, NH on 1/4/2007


The property is in a watershed district and our driveway exceeds the percentage slope that requires an erosion control plan. They didn't think the engineers had provided enough detail at the last meeting. Thanks for the advice.
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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/4/2007


That sounds typical. Most of the engineers, architects, designers and builders I know try to commit as little as possible to paper for permits. The reasoning being that if "they" approve the plans without something, you don't have to build it or do it in the case of civil aspects.

Which sometimes in an effort to minimize the scope of required items makes for a couple extra visits to the permit people.

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/8/2007


I sent an email to NH power companies and this was one response.

"..I was asked to respond to your question about net metering with renewable generation.

Net Metering is available to customers wishing to connect a generator that has a capacity of 25 kilowatts or less and uses a renewable energy source, such as solar, wind or water, to produce electricity. Under this billing option, a customer’s monthly PSNH bill will reflect the difference between the power they generated and the PSNH power they used during that month.

Attached is an application form and mutual indemnification form along with a summary of the rules. A copy of the rules can be referenced at the Public Utility Commission website at: http://www.puc.state.nh.us/Regulatory/Rules/puc900.pdf

Customers interested in connecting a renewable power source, will be responsible knowing and following the rules. When you have decided on the equipment you wish to use, complete the application and indemnification forms and return them to this office at least 30 days prior to your planned in service date.

Currently the Bergey GridTek, Xantrex SW Series, AES GC1000, SMA Sunny Boy SWR Series, Beacon Power Model M5, Outback Power Systems, Fronius IG series, Magnetek PVI-3000 and Sunpower grid tie inverters are known to meet NH requirements. Others may also meet NH requirements.

The attached net metering summary highlights some of the key components to the new rules. You are encouraged to contact this office if you have any questions on the rules, the continued availability of the program, or if the equipment you plan to use meets the interconnection requirements. I can be reached at ... C.V.
(See attached file: Net Metering Summary.doc)(See attached file:
Indemnity.doc)(See attached file: Application.doc)"

I can supply you with direct contact info and original email.
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By Barbara in Wilton, NH on 1/8/2007


Wow, thanks for the help. We unfortunately have run out of "alternative energy" fund at this point and just need to know if we should do anything different during construction to prepare for the possibility of hydroelectric down the line. Looks like we should be all set with PSNH. Thanks again for you taking the time to investigate this. - Barbara

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By Dale in Richland, AZ on 1/8/2007


You're welcome, just doing my job. This forum doesn't work without good discussion and good, accurate and beneficial information.

I would recommend contacting C.V. at the power company and finding out what you need to do at this point, given your finances, to make future integration possible.

Private message me for the contact info from the power company.

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