Mr. GRASSLEY. Madam President, a strong economy needs affordable, abundant, and reliable energy. In recent years, Americans have experienced higher prices for energy across the spectrum. This has led to an enormous growth in private and public research and development of innovative and advanced energy technologies. These innovative technologies include fuel from algae, solar, and wind generation, battery manufacturing, advanced nuclear, and many others.
I recently had an opportunity to visit with Virgil Vanderloo, of Ackley, IA. It was immediately apparent that Virgil has a passion for new and innovative ideas regarding hydroelectric power generation. Virgil does not have an engineering background he is a retired farmer. For 30 years he farmed land in Hardin, Plymouth, and Woodbury Counties. It is because of this time as a farmer that Virgil came to appreciate the land and its rich natural resources. Now, he is pursing a concept to capture the power from our Nation's rivers to generate electricity.
After speaking with Mr. Vanderloo and reviewing the material he compiled, he believes that his concept may have the potential to increase the production of hydroelectricity and capture a renewable energy source that currently goes uncollected. Mr. Vanderloo's concept includes placing barges below dams fitted with water turbines to produce electricity. He reasons that this type of electricity generation could be viable on the 30 or so dams along the Mississippi River. If viable, this concept could conceivably be implemented on many of the more than 50,000 nonpowered dams in the United States.
After all, the U.S. Department of Energy just last month published a study that indicated the United States could get as much as 12 gigawatts of energy per year by utilizing the hydropower potential of existing dams. The idea proposed by Virgil could be one the innovations in hydropower technologies that could help us use existing dams to generate renewable energy.
I would like to make an appeal to hydroelectric designers and engineers to review the concept presented by Mr. Vanderloo. I have posted his information on the Internet which can be accessed at httP//1.usa.gov/JlA5Ky. I hope those with scientific and engineering expertise in this area will review his proposal and contact him directly. It may have promise, and I hope this brings attention to his ideas regarding hydroelectric power generation.