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Just saw a piece on PBS News Hour about small hydroelectric projects getting streamlined federal approval... Fishkill Creek?

Am I missing some obvious reason why we could not do this?

Or is this a "duh" moment, and we should absolutely get this going.

The creek and its hydropower is why Beacon exists at all. A return to ancient roots. I can think of 3 places where a small generator would work. What a showcase it would be.

So, Bev, this is all it is.

BEVERLY RICH, San Juan County Historical Society: This is it.

DAN BOYCE: A generator the size of a wheelbarrow pulling in water from a mountain stream, generating enough power for about 10 homes. This little generator has helped change the course of hydro-history.

BEVERLY RICH: Come on, really?  This little, tiny thing in a 5-foot-by-10-foot building is causing all of this?

DAN BOYCE: Beverly Rich and other members of the volunteer San Juan County Historical Society started taking care of this old mill site about 15 years ago, a mill with a water pipeline the workers used decades ago to help process precious metals like gold and silver.

BEVERLY RICH: At that time, we kept thinking, gee, there really ought to be a way we can use that water.

DAN BOYCE: They started trying to get the federal licensing needed to install a power generator.

BEVERLY RICH: And had no idea how really onerous it is for really tiny, tiny, little projects. We were having to jump through the same hoops that if you’re going to build Boulder Dam.

DAN BOYCE: That’s the old name for the Hoover Dam. And she’s not exaggerating. A lot of projects generating electricity from water had to go through the same federal scrutiny as the giant dams of old, that is, until August of 2013.

REP. ED WHITFIELD (R), Kentucky: The other bill under consideration today is hydropower legislation.

DAN BOYCE: Advocates of small hydropower projects worked up a pair of bills for Congress. And the mill project in Silverton was on full display as a prime example of their problem.

KURT JOHNSON, Hydropower Consultant: It’s a long overdue, cost-effective, commonsense measure.

DAN BOYCE: This legislation streamlined the federal licensing process for small hydropower projects, cutting it down from years to as little as 60 days. And the legislation didn’t just pass.

BEVERLY RICH: Incredibly enough, in this — in this horrible time of gridlock, it passed unanimously.

There are 13 dams along the creek. Five are located in Beacon,[16] most built to serve past industry there[17] (one is still used for hydroelectric power generation.[18] The highest, near the city's downtown section, is 40 feet (12 m) tall.[19]

Three are in Beekman and two are in Fishkill,[16] the latter built by Texaco for a research facility it ran in the area from 1931 to 2003.[20] The dams along the upper Fishkill impound the stream into old mill ponds, such as Furnace Pond in Tymor Park, just above the site of an old iron smelter, giving the pond its name.[21] The dams prevent the upstream movement of fish at all stages of the creek.[18]

These guys operate out of East Fishkill, I just contacted them for comment.

Tags: creek, dam, fishkill, hydroelectric

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It is fairly easy to do a ballpark estimate of hydropower potential.  It involves the streamflow (volume per time) and the elevation drop.  The sporadic flow of Fishkill creek could be a problem without creating a bigger reservoir, which I don't think is possible considering the development along the edges.  Even if it only  had a small net power output it would be pretty cool to have.

Steve Knowles said:

Even if it only  had a small net power output it would be pretty cool to have.

Exactly. Zero energy output in the dog days of summer. But still useful and pride building. And historically aware. And environmentally aware.

I can't think of a single downside.

I was thinking maybe before colonial times there was salmon runs in the Fishkill, but apparently there wasn't (and even if there were, and there was an effort trying to reintroduce that, just build a fish ladder):

We visited a commercial glass factory in NH a few years ago, along a dam where a mill used to be.  They had built a hydroelectric generator in recent years to help power the glass ovens.  Since water power formerly kept the Beacon factories going, it would seem to be a good option now, especially considering the more efficient designs available now.  It looks like there used to be three different hydropower plants in Beacon, at each of the dam sites (Roundhouse, midway to Madam Brett, and Madam Brett; can anybody verify that?), and one in Glenham.

The electric utility lobbyists must have missed stopping that bill ;)

Steve Knowles said:

three different hydropower plants in Beacon, at each of the dam sites (Roundhouse, midway to Madam Brett, and Madam Brett; can anybody verify that?), and one in Glenham.

I can verify from walking in the weeds the whole route.

The midway one you can see looking south from the Wolcott Avenue Bridge, it's bigger than Madam Brett, but not as big as the one near Roundhouse.

There's another big one at the old Groveville Mills textile factory (now "The Lofts at Beacon"). That's the one with it's own stop light that's usually blinking yellow as you drive up 52 towards Fishkill. Just past the car dealers.

And then of course Texaco.

And many more dams beyond that further upstream.

And I confess embarrassment that I only just now learned this: the Groveville Mills is already a functional hydroelectric dam, it sells to Central Hudson.

Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation has acquired the 927-kilowatt Groveville Mills hydroelectric plant on the Fishkill Creek in the City of Beacon. In an average rainfall year, the 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electricity produced at the plant will meet the energy needs of more than 500 residential customers. It consists of three turbine generators and was acquired from UAH-Groveville Hydro Associates. The plant, which went on line in 1983, is located within the historic Groveville Mills factory complex, which first harnessed the power of the adjacent creek to fuel its manufacturing needs in the late 1800s.

So now there's even less reason to get this going by the Roundhouse. It would be a showpiece.

Amazing so many dams and power plants used to be on one little creek!

From my readings I have gathered that hydro power is mostly not a good thing. I understand it seems to be free energy but there are repercussions. We should break up all of those dams on the Fishkill Creek to allow the watershed area to heal. Solar and wind are the best bet for us. Lots get solar all over the old landfill and water treatment building grounds.

I recently went down to the old power transfer station across from J.V. Forrestal Elementary School. There is a very cool stone structure down by the water there with suggestions of a structure over the water itself. Could anyone shed some light on that? Old photos?

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