Canada is testing the water for modular river turbines. The project, led by RSW’s Renewable Energy Research, received $5.5 million in funding from Sustainable Development Technology Canada and the government of Quebec. RER will install two turbines in the St. Lawrence River.
RSW RER, along with TREK technology, will develop the turbines to be covered, self-anchoring and rated at 250 kilowatts. They will be placed near the Old Port of Montreal before the end of the year.
Some question turbines’ environmental impact since they can pose hazards to aquatic plant and animal life. Several turbines have regularly killed fish that got sucked in or caught up in the blades, and some have restricted the passage of silt and nutrients. Barnacles can also weigh down the blades over time, decreasing their efficiency. As far as hydropower solutions go however, turbines do less to disturb the environment than dams.