Fish barrier nets are netting benefits for hydro operators
Nets made with Dyneema® keep fish out of dams and turbines
05 June 2014 - Hydroelectric power is an unmissable part of the drive to reduce emissions and secure cheap and sustainable energy. It’s cost-effective, proven and carbon neutral.
The story for fish has been less rosy, however. For them, the construction of a dam causes obvious logistical hurdles as they try to migrate up and down rivers. Instead of making it to their destination, millions end up mangled in turbines, trapped below dams, or slow-cooked in reservoir water that is too warm for them. But there is hope: growing environmental awareness and regulation, plus new barrier net technologies and fish management systems, are helping to turn the situation around.
Stronger fish barrier nets with Dyneema®
In the United States, Pacific Netting Products Incorporated (PNP) is helping power generators to reduce costs and increase successful fish migration with barrier nets made with advanced Dyneema® fiber.
At the Great Lakes, in Michigan, for example, the company has manufactured and installed the world’s longest barrier net at approximately 2.5 miles (4 km) to protect fish stocks. At Bagnall Dam, in Missouri, PNP nets made with Dyneema® were chosen over nylon ones because they are less likely to break. This is crucial because at one point the net is just 40 feet (13 meters) from a turbine intake and a break could lead to the net being sucked into the turbine. PNP’s nets made with Dyneema® have also enabled the plant’s operator to reduce ROV inspections from monthly to quarterly, because the nets are proving to be so resilient. This has cut ROV inspection costs by 25%.
Using fish barrier nets made with Dyneema® has reduced ROV inspection costs by 25%
Innovative downstream fish passage system
In another example, in Washington State, PNP nets with Dyneema® are being used as part of an innovative downstream fish passage system on the Baker River, which is dammed in two places. The combination of nets made with Dyneema® and an innovative floating surface collector have raised successful fish migration from 300,000 to 650,000 a year, with further increases expected. The system comprises over five acres (2 hectares) of netting made with Dyneema® that stops fish getting caught in the turbine intakes while also guiding them into the collector for onward transportation around the dam.
See what power generation and aquaculture professionals say about using fish barrier nets made with Dyneema® in this video from Pacific Netting Products Incorporated.