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Technology Research Area:

Hydrokinetic Turbines

What are hydrokinetic turbines, and what do they have to do with TVA's mission?

Hydrokinetic turbines work in the same way that wind energy works; a turbine placed in flowing water drives a rotor connected to a generator, just as flowing air turns the blades of a wind turbine.

Hydrokinetic turbines are driven by flowing streams, not by water released from a reservoir. They are sources of renewable energy that could help TVA lower emissions from fossil power generation.

What is TVA doing about this technology?

TVA is interested in the feasibility of hydrokinetic turbine technology.

What are the possibilities for hydrokinetic turbines?

This technology is still in the prototype stage. So far prototypes have been small, generating kilowatts, not megawatts, and new developers are emerging all the time.

The environmental impact of the technology appears to be small, with some danger to fish and the possibility of damage by logs or flood waters. There is a large variety of designs, and many of them are untested. At this point the technology's future appears to be wide open.


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