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Potential project could supply electricity for between 1,600 and 4,000 households
emrgy casnal
An Emrgy canal turbine installation in Colorado.

The South San Joaquin Irrigation District is working to squeeze even more power out of water it has rights to within the Stanislaus River Basin.

Emrgy Inc. is currently working on a project that would place hydrokinetic turbines and floating solar panels in district canals

It has the potential to generate upwards of two megawatts of power. That’s enough to provide the electrical needs of between 1,600 and 4,000 households.

Emrgy over the past year has analyzed canal flow and geometry data.

They have determined the project is feasible. However, the most promising canal sections would require significant capital improvements such as channel reconstruction or channel liner to mitigate canal freeboard issued and increase channel velocities that must be addressed to make project  work as efficiently as possible.

That are state and federal grants available that would cover the work and make the project financially feasible.

Emrgy is before the SSJID board when they met Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the district office, 11001 East Highway 120 to seek a year’s extension to the contract,

That would allow the time needed to apply for —  and secure — funding for the capital improvements.

Emrgy, a startup business that places small turbines in irrigation canals to generate electricity, has raised $18.4 million to scale up its technology for carbon-free hydropower.

Emily Morris, CEO and founder of Emrgy, said her inspiration for making electricity in places that some people might find unlikely was seeing water swiftly flowing through the vast network of U.S. irrigation infrastructure. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation alone operates 1,600 miles of main canals.

In the same way that putting solar on rooftops avoids disturbing the land, making use of existing canals means the hydropower turbines don't have to disturb the natural environment.

Emrgy units look something like a propeller with blades rotating parallel to the ground. Water in the canals turns them and then flows past; there is no dam. The spinning turbines do change how the water moves through the canals, slowing it, so Emrgy works closely with water operators.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email