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Yellowstone's new micro hydro turbine now online

A new 230 kW micro hydro turbine at Yellowstone National Park will equate to as much as US$80,000 per year in energy savings, HydroWorld.com has learned.

The project was funded in large part by a $1.1 million grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the Yellowstone Park Foundation (YPF), and it will supply approximately a third of the energy needed to power Yellowstone's Mammoth Hot Springs headquarters.

Park officials said the Yellowstone small hydropower project uses only the water that was already being piped in from nearby Indian Creek to Mammoth's man-made water supply reservoir, meaning no dams or diversion channels needed to be added.

Energy produced by the generating unit is fed directly into a NorthWestern Energy grid instead of going straight to the buildings, meaning Yellowstone had to contract with the utility to receive credits for the power produced.

The plant is the first hydroelectric project constructed in Yellowstone National Park since 1903, when the U.S. Calvary installed a 100-MW Pelton turbine near Mammoth Hot Springs. That unit was taken out of service "long ago", YPF said.

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