Denver Water will be the first organization of its kind in the nation to use new technology to generate hydropower from slow-moving city water.

The utility will begin installing ten new hydrokinetic generators within the metro water system in June.
The generators will be placed along the South Boulder Canal above Ralston Reservoir.

"Essentially we take ten kilowatt units and put them in an array within the canal and they will produce power based on low head and low flow," said Bob Lindgren, the director of operations and maintenance for Denver Water.

Currently, utility companies need dams to harvest power from water.

What's unique about the technology Denver Water is testing this year is it doesn't require a dam to work.

"We've got a lot of untapped energy within our system and what is exciting about this is we are putting our units in a canal, which has never been done before. There are thousands of miles of canals within the U.S. and within the Denver water system with untapped energy and we want to maximize that," said Lindgren.

Denver Water says renewable energy like hydropower helps to keep their water rates as low as possible. So the more they can generate, the better.

"In producing power we help offset our costs, help drive down our rates, which in turn also helps keep our system in better condition for the long run," Lindgren said.

Denver Water is using its own funding for the $330,000 project, but it is also getting $270,000 from the Bureau of Reclamation and $240,000 from Oak Ridge National Lab.

The generators will be tested through the fall.