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Author Topic: Unmasking the "clean" hydroelectricity myth
Babbler # 560

posted 22 December 2005 07:48 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
In Quebec, Manitoba and Newfoundland, the increasing threat of new small and big hydroelectric projects will result in damage to river ecosystems. A coalition of international and Canadian environmental organizations are demanding that governments and hydro utilities not destroy the environment in order to fight climate change. The coalition notes that Canada should not destroy its rivers for electricity or for dollars from exporting electricity to the U.S.

Sierra Club of Canada

From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Brian White
Babbler # 8013

posted 24 December 2005 03:05 PM      Profile for Brian White   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
It is true of any power system that it affects nature negatively.
I saw a program on tv years back where an old guy went down to the waterwheel at the mill to harvest the salmon that got crushed in the wheel.
Coal and oil, give you smoke and heat and CO2 and acid rain. Big Hydro stops fish migration altogether.
I made something called the pulser pump. It is small scale with no moving parts and doesnt produce electricity so the power has to be used locally.
It is on the web and free to devellop.
I dont know the overall effect on fish but it does oxygenate water.
And, you gotta wondor at the environmental effects of having huge new bodys of water in those areas.

From: Victoria Bc | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
M. Spector
Babbler # 8273

posted 24 December 2005 03:31 PM      Profile for M. Spector   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
We managed to get some hydroelectricity out of Niagara Falls without having to dam the river. Why can't the same technology be used elsewhere on natural waterfalls?

Sierra Club counterposes wind and biomass technologies to hydroelectric power. But I'm sure they would have some horror stories to tell about the social and environmental effects of those technologies as well.

If I were them, I'd be focusing my criticism on the nuclear industry, which is poised for a dramatic comeback.

From: One millihelen: The amount of beauty required to launch one ship. | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 9327

posted 24 December 2005 03:56 PM      Profile for Aristotleded24   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Originally posted by M. Spector:
We managed to get some hydroelectricity out of Niagara Falls without having to dam the river. Why can't the same technology be used elsewhere on natural waterfalls?

In Manitoba where we have a great deal of hydroelectricity, the topography is flat, so they had to dam the rivers and change the envrionment dramatically to get that production.

Personally, I oppose further expansion of hydroelectricity, but at the same time, we might as well use whatever hydroelectricity available to us now to our advantage.

From: Winnipeg | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 11293

posted 24 December 2005 06:34 PM      Profile for LiberalPrisoner     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
Even wind-power stations kill the birds that get hit by the blades.

No source of power is perfect, but I am most encouraged by that new fusion reactor they're building in France. This will be the stablest, cleanest, most-eco-friendly method of power generation humans will be able to put online -- the only opponents would be those who think all progress is bad.

Until then, hydro is pretty clean; cleaner than coal-fired plants, cleaner than fusion reactors, cleaner than oil.

From: Montreal | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 2210

posted 24 December 2005 10:43 PM      Profile for Amy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post
I've probably said this before, but I think it's quite on topic. One summer I worked in a program financed by the Columbia Basin Trust (the money comes from a tiny percentage of the profits from the hydro generation from the dams in the Columbia watershed).

We did work in various communities affected by the damming of the columbia and Kootenay rivers, and it was unbelievable. It happened long before I was born, but during that summer I did some research on certain towns -- a few had to be moved, even the cemeteries. Every year, when the water gets low, there are sand storms on the shores of the 'lakes' old bones wash up. You can see stumps of trees from the orchards and forests that used to be there, as well. Every so often the 'lake' bottom has to be dredged, since there is a dramatic stop in flow where the gates are. The list goes on and on as to how bad dams can be for the environment.

I talked to some of the people who used to live in the 'relocated' towns, and they have yet to be financially compensated for their forced relocation, because they refused to accept the pittance originally offered. One of the questions that came up was whether it would change for the better if the dams were taken out, and most people in the area who knew what it was like before said no. The dams were built starting 100 years ago, and construction on new ones (as opposed to upgrades/renovations on existing ones) stopped about 30 years ago, so to just remove them would cause even more damage, unless it was done very, very slowly.

[ 24 December 2005: Message edited by: Amy ]

From: the whole town erupts and/ bursts into flame | Registered: Feb 2002  |  IP: Logged
Ninja Dragon Slayer
Babbler # 11481

posted 28 December 2005 10:17 PM      Profile for Ninja Dragon Slayer        Edit/Delete Post
I grew up in a part of the world where hydro was delivered via windmill, and dam. The windmills appeared to be more reliable than the dam, which frequently glitched.

It would appear that almost inevitably, there will be some environmental impact when we seek to provide power for large numbers of people.

What is the answer? What I want to know is why more is not being done to FIND alternate ways to generate power.

The politicians continue to blab on about all the ways they will improve the delivery of electricity - but how very little is actually done to attempt to find an alternate way of delivering electricity.

Moreover, why is more not being done to guide people toward SAVING power?

If more people were to be more concious of conservation, ultimately, that would lead to power conservation on a large scale, while we try to find another way.

In my opinion, anyway. (sigh)


From: a place that's safer than Toronto | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged

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