Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Forbes-Lindsay, C. H.
The control and use of our water-powers: the greatest natural resource of the country, pp. 486-496
CONTROL AND USE OF WATER-POWERS power has been given away and not less than one million six hundred thousand is now going to waste over Government dams. A clearer idea of this waste may be gained by the statement that at eleven tons of coal per horse-power per annum, it would require seventeen million six hundred thousand tons of coal a year to produce its equiva- lent in energy. Coal, it must be remembered, does not reproduce itself, while the permanency of water-power is dependent only on rainfall and the preservation of the forests. This monopoly of water-power affects every individual in the territory where it exists. Heat, light and power,-particularly the two latter,-are practically controlled by such a monopoly. Prices are not based on a fair return from the amount invested but are so regulated as to fall slightly below the cost of furnishing the same character of service through the agency of steam. Where fuel is cheap, the price of electric power is correspondingly so. In New York, power is supplied from hydro-electric plants at twent dollars per horse-power per year for twenty-four hour service. In tle Caro- linas, the average charge is fifteen dollars. In California, as much as ninety-eight dollars is charged to small consumers and fifty-eight dollars is the lowest rate in force. It is safe to say that from twenty- two to twenty-five dollars per horse-power would represent a fair average price for all localities. ITH the advantage of electrical transmission, water-power is fast usurping the place occupied by steam-power. In hundreds of towns of America steam engines have been almost entirely-if not quite-displaced by electrically transmitted and distributed water-power. In scores of cities, large steam plants may be seen standing idle. The economy is available to all kinds of industries that require mechanical power in large or small units. No loads are too great to be operated by electrically transmitted water-power, nor are any too small to be economically included in the field of its application. The enormous machinery of rolling mills, or the sewing machines of the shirt factory may be o erated through this agency, not only with saving in expense, but also with greater safety and less detriment to the health of the laborers. Gas, like steam, is falling behind in the competition with water- power. This is true in the fields of light, heat and power, and evi- dence of it may be found in the cities that have the cheapest gas. Buffalo, for example, not only has illuminating gas at one dollar per thousand cubic feet, but also natural gas at thirty cents per thou- 495
Based on the date of publication, this material is presumed to be in the public domain.| For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright