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The History of Hydropower


The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy has compiled a brief history of hydropower and its uses throughout the years. According to the agency, water wheels for grinding grain into flour were among the first uses of hydropower in the ancient world. Today, hydropower is entering a new phase as OceanBased Perpetual Energy begins initiatives designed to derive reliable, consistent and continuous power by harnessing the kinetic energy present in the Florida Gulf Coast current.

The Invention of the Modern Hydropower Turbine

Prior to the invention of the hydropower turbine, the use of water to produce energy was fairly straightforward. Water from a river, stream or waterfall was used as the kinetic force to turn a wheel, which then used mechanical force to turn other wheels to grind grain or to carry liquids or solids from one level to another. Between 1737 and 1739, however, Bernard Forest de Bélidor published a four-volume set of books entitled Architecture Hydraulique. These works outlined the principles that were used to create hydropower turbines in the 1880s, which converted the kinetic energy created by rushing water into electrical energy that could be used to power light sources and other systems.

The Federal Approach

In 1902, the U.S. government founded the Bureau of Reclamation to produce hydropower for the western half of the United States. In the decades that followed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was authorized to build hydroelectric plants, which now number 75 across the country. The establishment of the Tennessee Valley Authority allowed even more hydropower plants to be built and more energy to be stored to serve the power needs of U.S. residents. Finally, the Hoover Dam was completed in 1936 to provide power to nearby states and to provide irrigation options for the arid regions that surround it.

New Developments in Hydropower

Since the founding of the Hydropower Research Foundation by the National Hydropower Association in 1994, both federal agencies and private companies have been looking into new ways to generate energy using clean and green-friendly hydropower systems. At OceanBased Perpetual Energy, our goal is to provide reliable and environmentally sound solutions for putting the kinetic energy of ocean currents to work in producing reliable and consistent energy for homes and businesses.

Our research team is working with leaders in the research field and in industry to create the most practical and cost-effective way to convert the kinetic energy of the Florida Gulf Stream current into reliable green energy for U.S. homes and businesses. If you would like to learn more about our green hydropower revolution, please call OceanBased Perpetual Energy at 305-714-9400. We look forward to the chance to touch base with you.