NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — According to Anyplace America, there are 392 dams in North Dakota, and according to the state, the only hydroelectric power plant in North Dakota is the Garrison Dam.
So, what does it take to develop hydroelectric power?
Lake Sakakawea is the third largest reservoir in the United States by volume. The Garrison Dam has a maximum capacity of 583 megawatts with five turbines.
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, large hydroelectric dams can’t be built just anywhere.
They need a consistent supply of water and a large amount of land.
You need a strong river, a deep basin to hold that water, and making one is not easy.
“We do have a lot of dams throughout our country, but really actually a small percentage of those are equipped to produce hydropower or to facilitate storage. So, I think there’s some opportunities there for us to take a look at that as there’s an opportunity to cite and expand either generation storage,” said Tracey LeBeau from the Department of Energy.
The Department of Energy states that hydroelectric power can be risky at times. The more you transform a reservoir or dam into a hydroelectric plant, the higher the risk for environmental problems.
Not all wildlife thrives in reservoir environments, especially when they’re used to more running water.
So, environmental studies are extremely important before tackling a hydropower project.