Local governments control and own many small waterpower sites. Drive through many small towns in North America, Europe or other places in the world and many of these towns are on a waterway of some kind, a small river, a big river, etc, and if they are on a waterway, they usually have a water control structure of some kind.
This is very common because historically settlements were located on or close to water because water power was a main source of power for industries and water also offered a means of transport for many goods. Towns sprang up around mill sites.
As the owners of water control structures in many of these towns and cities, local governments have a unique opportunity.
Being in a “town” or “city” setting, connection issues are reduced because of the close proximity to connection and the greater capacity of distribution lines within towns.
Sites within towns also benefit from the fact that increased opportunities exist to net meter against other local government electric using facilities such as arenas, municipal buildings, sewage treatment plants, schools, etc.
And if net metering is not an option, municipalities get priority points in FIT (Feed in Tariff) applications. (Note: Ontario FIT program referred to)
Learn more about the Pros and Cons of Net metering vs FIT connections
In addition to making money and providing a hedge against potential future electricity price increases at local government run/owned facilities, there are other good reasons for a local government to develop their waterpower sites.
Someone has to lead the way, show the way, and demonstrate commitment to renewable energy, and solving the energy problem
THE PROBLEM: USE OF NON-RENEWABLES
Everyone wants to stimulate local economies and these days many are trying to attract green industries into their local economies.
But what is your local government doing to demonstrate their commitment to the “green” movement? Is your local government doing more than getting rid of styrofoam cups at their coffee machines? Or are they simply trying to attract green industry without really showing any interest in being green?
Green industry understands local governments have to make sound business decisions for their local constituents but they also want to be around others who get them and provide an attractive environment to operate in.
4 Reasons that support local governments developing their water power sites are:
Make money from your existing water control structures.
Hedge your risk of potential future electricity price increases.
Reduce your carbon footprint.
Signal to all “green” industries you’re progressive, you “get them”, and your serious about “green”.