Cambodia joins a lengthening list of nations around the world that are reassessing big hydropower dams in an era when wind and solar power are less expensive, much easier to build, less damaging, and far less vulnerable to droughts and floods.
One hydropower configuration that deserves considerable attention is a water turbine directly powering machinery, without the intermediate step of generating electricity. The implementation of this form of direct hydropower doubles the effectiveness of a small scale electric hydropower installation. This advantage can be used to increase the energy production of an existing water power site. It also means that more potential water power sites become available, and that relatively small streams and rivers can be shared by several hydropower units. Because of its higher efficiency a direct hydropower system is also cheaper.
For almost two thousand years, water wheels powered machines directly via mechanical transmission.
Destroying wild rivers to generate electricity is a false solution to humanity’s need for energy, with extremely high costs to individuals, communities, and ecosystems.
When we flip on a light, we rarely think about water. But electricity generation is the biggest user of water in the United States.
The Mackenzie River Basin, which occupies and protects one-fifth of Canada’s fresh water, could be severely destabilized by climate change as well as unbridled resource extraction, including hydraulic fracturing, hydro dams and oil sands mining.
-China to spend $372 billion on cutting energy use, pollution
-China’s mega coal power bases exacerbate water crisis – in pictures
-Thousands being moved from China’s Three Gorges – again
-China and its controversial carbon appetite [Book review]
– The most honest three and a half minutes of television, EVER… (from HBO)
– John Perkins: Occupy the Dam: Brazil’s Indigenous Uprising
– Appalachia Turns on Itself (over coal)
– ‘Deep Green Resistance’ — how not to build a movement
– Germany Meets Half Its Energy Demand From Solar, Briefly
– The new new hydropower: Small-scale turbines have big potential
– National Defense: Efficiency and Conservation Not Enough to Achieve Energy Security
– Energy now hitting pop charts (Muse and the 2nd Law of thermodynamics)
In this post, I consider the limited impacts of climate policy on fossil-fuel production and discuss estimates of fossil-fuel production in the long run.
In most East African countries access to electricity is very low. Besides electricity, there is a basic need for energy. In Eastern African countries most of the energy consumed is produced from traditional solid biomasses, such as the burning of wood.
The search for combustibles begins early in the morning, includes several hours of walking, and, in cases where no trees are to be found, digging for roots with bare hands; in some regions this activity is accompanied by the constant danger of violent and sexual assaults. In areas where there is no wood left for burning, cow dung or other waste is used for fuel.
Having now sorted solar, wind, and tidal power into three “boxes,” let’s keep going and investigate another source of non-fossil energy and put it in a box. Today we’ll look at hydroelectricity. As one of the earliest renewable energy resources to be exploited, hydroelectricity is the low-hanging fruit of the renewable world. It’s steady, self-storing, highly efficient, cost-effective, low-carbon, low-tech, and offers a serious boon to water skiers. I’m sold! Let’s have more of that! How much might we expect to get from hydro, and how important will its role be compared to other renewable resources?