Paris plans to harness energy from the Seine, but what will be the effects?

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The Independent Online

Paris becomes the latest in a line of cities to look to water power. But what will the effects of putting turbines in the Seine be on public life?


A remote town in Alaska called Eagle has recently installed a new hyper-kinetic river turbine; the 25kw turbine is attached to a barge in the Yukon River which rotates, therefore generating electricity. The turbine does not require a dam, yet it is able to provide enough power for the village which has a population of 68. Other cities to have installed hyper-kinetic turbines rather than constructing dams include Cornwall in Ontario, Canada and New York, however with both of these cities the percentage of powered produced by the turbines is minimal compared to the amount required by the cities.

The latest city in line to experiment with underwater turbines is Paris. According to reports in the UK's Guardian newspaper, Paris will install eight turbines under the city bridges in an attempt to raise energy from the currents of the Seine.

However, the French authorities are realistic about the minimal amount of energy the turbines will actually generate and insist that the project is more about education and environmental awareness.  According to the report in the Guardian the majority of machinery will be hidden underwater but parts of the structure could possibly be visible above the water line. However the technology used in the New York operation is on a far larger scale and has caused a minimum of disruption due to the turbines being both silent and located completely under water; as such, and given their scale, it is unlikely that the Paris turbines will cause any serious disruption.

The turbines are expected to be installed next year.