Hydro Powered Apartments. There are two hydro turbines at Enterprise Mill which provide electrical power to the Enterprise Mill commercial and residential complex. The entire hydroelectric station is capable of producing over six million kwh of electricity per year and Enterprise Mill uses around four million kwh annually with the rest of the electricity being sold back to the grid through Georgia Power.
This means electric bills are under market rates.
These turbines were originally constructed and installed circa 1890. The turbines ceased to function in the latter half of the 20th century, but have now been restored to their original function to produce electricity for Enterprise Mill residents and commercial tenants.
What are the benefits of Hydro power?
The turbines are located on site, where water from the Augusta Canal serves the turbines. The Augusta Canal was built in 1845 as a source of water and power, feeding off the Savannah River. Water feeds from the canal down into the turbines without disrupting the natural hydrology of the canal. The in stream flows comply with the Augusta Canal Authority to meet the required flow levels to provide a good aquatic habitat for wildlife. In turn, fish, wildlife and recreation are undisturbed as a result. Water quality is tested and maintained by the Augusta Canal Authority to insure that it meets or exceeds state standards to ensure a healthy aquatic habitat. The facility does not disrupt the passage of fish through the canal and protects the fish from entrainment. You can take a tour of the Augusta Canal by visiting the History Museum inside Enterprise Mill. Details here.
When was the Canal built?
Built in 1845 as a source of power, water and transportation, the Augusta Canal is the only intact industrial canal in the American South in continuous use. During the Civil War it was the site of the Confederate State of America Powderworks complex. Deepened and widened in the 1870s, the canal brought an industrial boom to the city, especially in textile manufacturing. In 1975 the Canal and its mills were listed on the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1978. In 1996 the United States Congress designated the Augusta Canal and nearby land a National Heritage Area. Several canal-side structures pre-date the War Between the States and the heyday of America’s Industrial revolution.
Where does the Canal go?
The Augusta Canal was built in three levels. The first level begins at the head gates located at Columbia County’s Savannah Rapids Park. This level reaches 7 miles, terminating at gates on 13th Street near Walton Way, just north of the University Hospital main campus. The towpath trail, which runs along the north side, is limited to pedestrians/cyclists from the head gates to the Augusta Waterworks Raw Water Pump Station at the end of Goodrich Street. Goodrich Street parallels the canal to King Mill. The canal’s second and third levels wind thru downtown and are less visible and accessible that the first level. The Second level branches from 13th Street toward the northeast, where it intersects with the third level near 11th and Telfair Streets, adjacent to Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School. From there, the Third level flows in two directions: northwest toward Hawks Gully at 15th Street where the water re-enters the Savannah River, and southeast, where it flows into Beaver Dam Creek.
What about the Environment?
Although the Augusta Canal is man-made, many areas along its banks have returned to a more natural state. The canal occupies a unique ecosystem created along the granite ledges that separate the Piedmont plateau from the Coastal plain –an area known as The Fall Line. The undeveloped land between the canal and the Savannah River rapids along the upper First Level has formed a wetland, creating an urban wildlife refuge that is home to varied flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species.