In my Town or as many of you would say, my Township ( a division of the state, county system ) we have 4 electric dams on the Peshtigo River. They were built 100 years ago when the Green Bay Trolley system needed electricity. The local power company has somehow taken them over. With todays standards they are quite inefficient. I believe efficiency goes by multiples, not a straight line, when expanding dams. The state makes them keep a certain amount of water flowing in the river at all, times. By using computers, this is controlled much better with less labor now. Each dam has a large flowage. or most people call them back waters, to store water which takes up well over 1,000 acres for these 4 dams. The good side is, these flowages make great places for boating, fishing ( summer and winter) water skiing etc. Great draw for tourist and “shakers” ( people who build cabins or second homes in the woods around the flowages because the power company and state own most all of the land around the flowages. There are 15 nice boat landings for access to the water.
So I would conclude that small dams on local rivers are not efficient, but are good for the community when the overall picture is looked at. I don’t think when laying out a new electricity generator, that power companies look past the dollar bill.
High Falls in the 1800’s before the dam
High Falls Dam 1907 construction
I can’ believe it. I wanted to post a modern picture but can’t find them. You get the idea, that these are/were commercial power plants, not just small “home” power generators. TomC