City of Minneapolis Opposes Clean, Emission-Free Hydroelectric Power In Their Backyard

It turns out maybe the City of Minneapolis isn’t as gung-ho about renewable energy when the proposed project is in their own backyard.

Crown Hydro LLC, a hydroelectric company, wants to build a powerhouse beside the St. Anthony Falls and a tunnel running beneath the historic Stone Arch Bridge, but this plan is opposed by the city, its Park Board, and an array of advocacy groups focused on the river.

The 3.4-megawatt hydro project would provide power for 2,300 homes, and if it were to run at full capacity for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it would dwarf the energy output of the City’s solar arrays.

Here’s how the math works. The pie chart below shows the  buildings owned and operated by the City of Minneapolis use approximately  101,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity every year. The Crown Hydro dam would produce approximately 29,800 MWh’s of electricity every year, meaning it would produce more than 300 percent more clean, renewable electricity than the solar arrays.

If the City of Minneapolis is truly worried about reducing their carbon footprint, they should welcome every avenue for reducing carbon dioxide emissions at their disposal. This means embracing hydroelectric electricity even if it is not popular with the public. Otherwise, the overtures to renewable energy feel like a ribbon-cutting photo op aimed  at making feel-good campaign literature, not serious public policy.