Getting a power boost from ordinary H2O

Recently, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority installed a system to generate energy from pressurized water that is piped to the authority’s storage facility in Weston. The system consists of a hydraulic turbine and a hydroelectric generator and is used to convert water, wind, and sun into energy. 

The state has intensified its efforts to generate its own energy following an executive order issued by Governor Deval Patrick in 2007, asking state agencies to “lead by example” and get at least 15 percent of their annual electricity from renewable sources by 2012. Agencies were also called to reduce their overall energy consumption by 20 percent in the same time frame.

The electricity that is ultimately produced by the new system helps to power the delivery system that pulls water from the Quabbin and Wachusett reservoirs. Gravity sends that water, which is pressured along the way, to a treatment plant in Marlborough via aqueducts, and then east to a network of tanks, including the Loring Road facility, which reduces the pressure and stores the drinkable water before distributing it to the communities. The generator is expected to collect an average of 1.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity a year. Enough to power nearly 110 homes.

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Dakota Schwartz
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