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Alternative Energy / Hydroelectric

  • The World’s Most Dangerous Dams

    Hydroelectric dams are a nifty way of producing a huge amount of power, but they do not last forever. This is a tale of two dams that will fail unless they are urgently repaired, and if they fail, catastrophic suffering and loss of life will be the result. The first is the Mosul Dam, which stretches across the Tigris River in a valley north of Mosul, Iraq. As dams go, this one is a civil engineering horror. The dam was captured on Aug. 7 by the Islamic State, and retaken 10 days later by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, with American…

  • Once Mighty Hydropower Falls Behind Other Renewables

    For decades, hydropower has been the chief source of clean and renewable energy in the United States, but new federal statistics show that it’s about to be eclipsed by other renewable sources.A report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that April 2014 was the eighth straight month in which “non-hydropower” surpassed hydropower. Solar, wind and other alternatives were responsible for 7.4 percent of total electricity generation, just above hydropower’s 7 percent.Just 10 years ago, hydropower produced three times more energy than other renewables, according to the report by the EIA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.…

  • Global Hydroelectric Use On The Rise

    Until 1948, Hoover Dam was the largest hydroelectric plant in the world. It’s still the most visited dam in the world, with over 7 million tourists touring it each year credit: AirwolfhoundHydroelectricity is often overlooked in discussions of renewable energy sources, despite being the world’s largest source of non-fossil-fuel power. But that may be changing.According to the British Petroleum’s 2014 Statistical Review of World Energy, global usage of hydroelectricity has been increasing over the last decade. China tops the list of countries that have invested in new hydropower, with an almost five percent increase from 2012 to 2013. The benefits…

  • Just How Green is Hydroelectric Power?

    Hydroelectric dams are the quintessential expression of human control of nature. As well as power, they create reservoirs of clean water, which to some are both pleasing to the eye and a place for tranquil recreation. They promise control of flooding, provide a steady supply of water for irrigation and, with time, a source of fresh fish. They are an economist’s as well as an engineer’s dream, and, coupled with dynamic images of the cranes, bulldozers and swarms of men in hard hats associated with their construction, they are an instant marketing opportunity for politicians eager to demonstrate their commitment…

  • 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…