Supporting clean hydroelectric power generation while also protecting freshwater diversity is in many cases an unmet challenge. Exclusion infrastructure (i.e., fine fish screens, behavioral guidance infrastructure, and bypasses) can protect fish from turbine entrainment when it is feasible, but also limits the available passage routes for fish and constrains hydropower generation. Alternatively, turbines designed to pass fish downstream safely can maintain connectivity for downstream migrating species while also enabling uninterrupted hydropower operation. Integrating safe downstream passage into normal hydropower operations through the use of fish-safe turbines (fish inclusion) can reduce cost and complexity while facilitating downstream migration. We describe the performance characteristics and application range of a new propeller-style turbine, called the Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT), as well as passage testing learnings and results.
How big can a fish be and still pass through the Restoration Hydro Turbine (RHT) safely? Pretty big!