Renewable Energy Is Not Always ‘Green’: Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Hydroelectric Reservoirs


| 7/2/2015 4:59:00 AM


Hydropower is often considered a clean energy source, free of climate-warming carbon dioxide emissions. But although dams have been demonized for disrupting fish migrations and flooding valleys inhabited by families for generations, this so-called renewable form of energy has largely escaped scrutiny for its climate impacts. After all, how could the atmosphere be harmed by letting a river flow through a few energy-generating turbines encased within a 50-foot wall of concrete and steel?

Hydropower is the world’s leading form of renewable energy, accounting for more than 16 percent of global electricity generation. But dam enthusiasts who tout hydro’s climate credentials may not like the news about its emissions numbers.



Studies conducted over the past decade have shown that greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are produced by hydroelectric systems in potentially huge amounts.

janet
7/18/2015 11:20:26 AM

The emissions you talk about are the result of decomposing organic matter. Are you planning to also calculate the methane gases produced by every gardener's compost bin? I suggest that, rather than trying to sterilize naturally occurring processes, it would be more beneficial for the environment to work with nature & channel her bounty. After all, greenhouse gases are themselves a power source when properly directed.




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