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Alternative Energy / Hydroelectric

  • Argentina: Hydropower Plans and EU Bio-Diesel Duties

    Bottom Line: The European Union appears to be punishing Argentina over the expropriation of Repsol YPF with higher duties on Argentine bio-diesel that will cost the industry dearly.Analysis: On 23 October 2013, the European Union (EU) announced higher anti-dumping measures on Argentine bio-diesel that could cost local industry up to US$ 1 billion. Set to come into effect by the end of the November, the duties will add between US$300 to US$340 per ton. Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman declared Argentina would appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to reverse the decision. Beyond these new duties, Argentine bio-diesel will be…

  • Belgian Minister Inaugurates Power Plant in Eastern DRC

    Last month Belgium’s Minister for Cooperation and Development Jean-Pascal Labille in the company of Democratic Republic of Congo’s Orientale Province governor Jean Bamanisa opened the rehabilitated Tshopo hydroelectric facility in the provincial capital Kisangani in the northeast of the country. The rehabilitation of the plant on the Tshopo River and its electrical distribution network were jointly financed by Belgium and the DRC. The Belgian contribution to the project was $20 million, while the DRC paid $2.5 million.Belgium has a long and dolorous history in the country, as in the early 20th century, Belgian forces arrived and brutalized the population as…

  • India, China, Among Others Eye Himalaya’s Hydroelectric Potential

    For many, the Himalayas, site of the world’s highest peak, Mt. Everest, and shrouded by Buddhist cultures such as Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan, is a romantic region shrouded in mystery, as exemplified in the 1937 movie, “Lost Horizon.”Now reality is about to impinge upon the “roof of the world,” as surrounding nations prepare plans to harness the hydroelectric potential of the mighty rivers, including the Mekong, the Brahmaputra Yangtse and Yellow rivers. It is the headwater of rivers on which nearly half the world depends descending from the Tibetan plateau.Now, southern Himalayan watershed nations India, Nepal, Bhutan and Pakistan are…

  • Supply Policies Prevent Hydropower from Fulfilling its Potential

    “We have a very clear realization that we need to make energy systems more sustainable,” says Seth A. Blumsack, assistant professor of energy policy at Penn State. “We want to reduce the environmental footprint—carbon dioxide and conventional pollutants.”Americans also expect to have the system continue to work exactly as it is without blackouts and with low cost electricity. While wind and solar power are emission-free once installed, they are also subject to the whims of nature. The wind can suddenly cease to blow and an area can have minimal sunlight for days. “Wind is the fastest growing renewable energy source in…

  • Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam, Bad Idea?

    Of the four BRIC nations, so beloved of Wall St. as the world’s economic future, only one, the Russian Federation, is a major energy exporter.India and China are scouring the globe for energy imports.Brazil, which two years ago became a modest hydrocarbon exporter, still needs to feed the rising energy needs of its population.To that end, in Pará state in the Amazonian basin, Brazilian workers are feverishly laboring at the $14.4 billion Belo Monte dam on the Xingu river to complete the world’s largest hydroelectric facility, which, will generate 11,233 megawatts. When completed, Belo Monte will become the world’s third-largest…

  • Russian Concerns over Central Asia Threaten Kyrgyzstan Hydroelectric Plant

    Last autumn, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev tried to clarify the Kremlin’s energy ambitions in Central Asia: Putin promised massive Russian investment in the impoverished country’s hydropower sector in return for an Atambayev pledge to enhance economic and security cooperation. But back in Moscow, reservations about the wisdom of investing in Kyrgyzstan are strong.On the surface, the hydropower project has received the green light at every turn, coming a step closer to reality on April 16, when the Russian State Duma passed a resolution affirming intentions to build both Kambarata-1 – a giant dam that…

  • Iran Abandons Chinese Help, to Build World’s Highest Hydroelectric Plant Alone

    Iran, pummeled by years of international sanctions, has had two energy goals.First, to preserve its dwindling international hydrocarbon market share, increasingly battered by years of U.S. and UN sanctions designed to slow down and halt its civilian nuclear energy program, which Washington and Tel Aviv have long insisted masks a covert program to develop a nuclear weapons program.The second, much less reported in the foreign press, is to diversify its indigenous energy infrastructure, so as to preserve its hydrocarbon assets for the long term.In pursuit of the latter goal, Iran is ramping up its hydroelectric program.Iran currently has 23 operational…

  • Burma, Emerging from International Isolation, Pursues Major Hydroelectric Plans

    What a difference two years makes.Since Burma’s junta in March 2011 allowed a nominally civilian government led by President Thein Sein, who had previously served as a general and then prime minister under the junta, Western governments and energy companies have been flocking to the previously isolated country. Hillary Clinton made the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State to Burma, or Myanmar, as the junta relabeled the country, in December 2011 Newly re-elected President Obama followed suit in November 2012, during a brief several hour visit, underlining Burma's return to the world stage.Prior to the Burmese junta’s relinquishing…

  • Encouraging Solar Energy to Stand on its Own two Feet

    The search for market equilibrium is an elusive quest in the solar energy industry.  But the addiction to subsidies, carve-outs and other political favours has done little to improve the success potential for solar.  Quite the reverse, by creating the conditions that made possible and induced China to expand its aggressive export strategy of market dominance and deploy its zero sum game of taking market share from regional players the solar industry and its political patrons has effectively slit their own throats.The question is how do we pull the solar energy future out of the ditch and get it back…

  • Hydroelectric Dams Produce 20 Times more Methane Gas when Water Level is Low

    Typically, at moderate sizes, power generated by dams and reservoirs is considered “green.” However, a new study from Washington State University has found that during times of drawdown — a period in which the water level behind a dam is rapidly lowered — temperate reservoirs can produce up 20 times more methane than normal.Methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere over 100-year period, and is a hundred times more potent over 20 years. It is produced naturally in reservoirs thanks to biological activity.During drawdowns, though, when layers of decaying plants,…