Since December 2012, the management at Yellowstone National Park has been taking advantage of a so-called "micro-hydropower" system.
This electricity-generating device, which is located in the heart of the natural preserve, is capable of producing up to 240 kilowatts of power, according to a press release. Officials from Yellowstone say that the initiative is the descendant of previous efforts to introduce clean energy at the park, but this particular one represents the first time that a zero-emissions system has been built on such a small scale.
"Commercially supplied energy has long powered the lights in Yellowstone. But a new spin on the same century-old technology is not only adding a few hundred extra kilowatts of free, home-grown power to what's already being supplied by the grid. It's also helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 800 metric tons each year. The park's goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 15 percent by 2016," the organization that runs Yellowstone said in a statement.
The Mammoth micro-plant, the source reported, gathers energy from a collection of creeks that are fed into a reservoir. A generator was placed inside a 12-inch water pipe, which uses a 4 cubic feet-per-second flow of water to create electricity.
This blog has reported on small-scale hydroelectric power systems in the past, including one in New York City that makes free energy from the natural flow of water. This type of technology is slowly but surely gaining popularity, especially in communities and areas that are hard to reach with conventional power sources, like Yellowstone.