South Bend Indiana, Water to Energy

South Bend Indiana is getting it right, now if they do it without adding pollutants, even better! Local T.V. News at WNDU  reports that South Bend is giving it a shot! Frank Waugh has the scoop!
South Bend returns to river for renewable energy
South Bend, Ind.
Rising energy costs and a drive to be more environmentally friendly have many cities looking at renewable energy. South Bend is no exception.

Posted: 6:31 PM Jul 5, 2011
Reporter: Frank Waugh
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Rising energy costs and a drive to be more environmentally friendly have many cities looking at renewable energy. South Bend is no exception.

But instead of whirling wind turbines and shiny solar panels, the city is planning to go back to the city’s first power supply, the river.

“I think it was Mr. Oliver who put the first hydro dam here and used hydraulic power to turn wheels and produce things. There used to be a power plant over on the Century Center side, before Century Center was built that lasted for a long time. There is a rich history of producing renewable energy off of this river,” Gary Gilot said.

That history hit a speed bump in the mid 1980’s when a 45 kilowatt hydroelectric turbine was purchased by the city. The plan was to install it along the fish ladder at Seitz Park, but that never happened. Instead, it collected dust in a warehouse for over 25 years.

Today, the turbine sits in pieces while it is being refurbished. Once it is back together and installed, it will be put to work.

“If you look at the buildings over at Howard Park there is the human rights building, there is the rec center, and the ice rink. We are going to be able to power the entire facility with this power,” Jonathan Burke said.

In addition to that, it will also be able to power the gates along the East Race, all while saving money.

“If you were to optimize, you would have generator sets that would produce 1.78 megawatts, that is nearly 1800 kilowatts of power, from this river. That feasibility study is ongoing, due to be completed in August,” Gilot said.

The feasibility survey will examine the potential for a much larger generating station, a complex that is tough to compare to this new turbine.

“The 1.8 megawatt unit has the potential to power all the city buildings that are owned by the city within about a half mile radius of here,” Burke said.

“Developing the hydro electric potential of our river is a huge benefit for the city of South Bend. It gives the citizens of South Bend something to be very proud of. We hear a lot of talk about what’s going on, on the east coast, west coast. Portland, Oregon is always held up as the green city. There is no reason that the city of South Bend can’t be the Portland, Oregon of the Midwest,” Burke said.

Gary said that if the new facility is built, the city would use all of the power it generates, and has no plans of becoming a regulated utility.

As for the smaller turbine, it should be installed by early fall.

Be sure to watch WNDU for updates!

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