Officials celebrate energy-producing screw in Meriden’s Hanover Pond dam

Officials celebrate energy-producing screw in Meriden’s Hanover Pond dam


MERIDEN — Dozens of city and state officials gathered to inaugurate the Archimedes screw hydroelectric generator at Hanover Pond Wednesday afternoon, the first of its kind installed the United States.

“This is just a great example of what a public-private partnership should look like,” Mayor Kevin Scarpati said at the ceremony. “To be the first of its kind here in Meriden, for lack of a better term, it’s just cool. For Meriden to lead the way and to lead as an example in this mission is just an honor.”

The generator utilizes the 2,000-year-old technology of ancient Greek scientist Archimedes, producing power by siphoning water from the top of the Hanover Pond dam and down the screw, turning it with gravity.

The $2.5 million project funded by New England Hydropower Company and Connecticut Green Bank, included importing a 20-ton, 35-foot long steel screw from Holland and lifting it via crane into a concrete shell constructed at the dam. The screw began generating electricity in February. The turbine, installed in late December 2016, is expected to generate 900,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity annually for Meriden under an agreement with the city. The agreement is expected to save the city $20,000 a year in power costs and property taxes over 20 years.

“It is not in its own a massive amount of power, but it is a slice of the renewable energy pie which we hope to grow,” New England Hydropower Company CEO Michael Kerr said at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Connecticut Green Bank Chief Information Officer Bert Hunter spoke of the financing process, cracking a joke at the screw’s namesake.

“If Archimedes had lived in a different time, we might have called it an ‘I-Pump,’” Hunter said.

Aside from the dam’s environmental appeal, State Treasurer Denise Nappier noted the technology could prove a wise investment in the state, noting sustainability and economic interests are “two sides of the same coin.”

“This project is a source of energy that is green,” Nappier said. “Let me be honest with you, when I talk about keeping it green, I’m talking about a return on the state’s investment.”

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Mary Sotos praised the project’s thoughtful inclusion of a passage for migrating fish in addition to minimal impact on the long-polluted waterway.

“Here we have energy that is pollution free,” Sotos said. “It’s a positive reuse of this site that has this industrial history.”

After the ceremony, dozens of curious onlookers had the chance to enter the facility and gaze at the massive screw as it churned in its cement nest with incredible noise.
Twitter: @LeighTaussRJ


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