Humans have to pay heavy price for hydropower plants

November 24, 2011

VietNamNet Bridge – The consequences caused by hydropower plants are bigger than people thought previously. Especially, these include the death toll which hydropower plant investors usually ignore. 

Terribly high emissions

The research conducted by the International Hydropower Association and UNESCO pointed out that the decomposition of organic substances in water always led to greenhouse gas emissions. Water reservoirs are the places which collect materials from the entire basin of the rivers. Organic substances are driven into the place from surrounding terrestrial ecosystems. Besides, domestic waste, industrial waste and agricultural pollution are also gathered into the ecosystem, which then causes the greenhouse gas emissions.

The researchers, after conducting some measurement at some hydropower plants’ dams, came to a conclusion that hydropower plants also cause greenhouse gas, including CH4 and CO2.

According to Brazilian National Space Institute, it is estimated that the big hydropower plant dams in the world cause 104 million cubic meters of CH4 every year, which means that hydropower plants cause 4 percent of the total reasons behind the climate change.

Dr Le Anh Tuan from the Can Tho University has pointed out that when developing hydropower plants, people need to chop down forests, which causes the big changes to the ecosystem. Building hydropower plants, by the nature, means making the intervention to the streams and water resources, therefore, this cannot be considered as an “environment friendly behavior.”

How much is the electricity production cost?

A recent research pointed out that in order to create one MW of electricity; people need to chop down 2.35 hectares of forests and sanctuaries. Meanwhile, Dr Tuan has pointed out that reducing the forest area also means the reduction in revenue from selling CO2 emission credits. It seems that the thing has not been considered by investors.

Dr Dao Trong Tu, a well known scientist, also said that investors always “lie about the investment rate” when talking about the costs of hydropower projects, saying that investors do not count on the long term consequences to be caused by the plants. Especially, Tu said that investors “ignore” the figures about the death toll when calculating the investment costs. In 1975, Shimantan dam in China was broken, thus causing the death to 170,000 people and the asset toll of 8.7 billion dollars.



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