Lucid Energy, a Portland based start-up has set out to tap the energy in Portland’s drinking water. They have created a system built in to city water pipes that functions as hydropower plants do but without the environmental pitfalls like disrupting wildlife and emitting greenhouse gases. Their system relies on the already flowing water in pipelines to move turbines within the pipe which are connected to generators. Currently portland has this system installed in 50 feet of pipe which is generating 1,100 megawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power 150 homes!
This project cost $1.7 million dollars and was paid for by private investors, it is expected to generate $2 million dollars worth of electricity over the next 20 years. Portland has agreed to buy back the electricity for at least the next 20 years. This technology is a huge deal because many cities have aging infrastructure requiring them to make improvements in the upcoming years and this option would allow them to have a dual purpose replacing their pipes!