A proposal to harvest energy from canals to power the city’s street lights with green electricity has been presented to City Hall.
Sinn Féin has called for the development of municipal hydrokinetic power, relying on ambient water flows, in the city’s canals.
The party’s City Central representation, former City Councillor Mark Lohan, said a scheme should be piloted in the city, and he has sought advice from Matt Carty MEP, on getting EU funding for it.
“The generation of micro-hydro power from the canals is a viable and realistic way for Galway City Council to lead nationally on clean energy,” said Mr Lohan.
He said small-scale hydroelectric turbines were in use in canals in Britain, mainland Europe and the US, “where they are generating electricity and contributing to the reversal of climate change”.
Mr Lohan has made the suggestion in a document submitted to the City Council’s Draft Climate Adaptation Strategy, 2019-2024, for which the Council is still accepting proposals and public submissions.
Invoking the ‘good old days’ at the beginning of the 20th century when Máirtín Mór McDonogh used a canal-based generator to bring rudimentary electric lights to Merchants’ Road, Mr Lohan said: “We can now use that same ingenuity, and harness a clean energy while leading the way in truly tackling climate change.”
A small hydrokinetic system, which relies on ambient flow of water rather than storing of pressure behind a dam, would be suitable in Galway, he said, and would have very little impact on the ecosystem.