How "green" is hydropower, and how viable is it in a warming world with increasing water fluctuations and shortages? To some extent, it depends on the type of facility.
Hydro-Québec indirectly subsidizes the wind power sector to the tune of $695 million a year, which amounts to some $200 per Quebec household to produce a tiny fraction of the province's energy. With an estimated 40 billion barrels of oil, developing this resource would provide a minimum of $160 million a year in royalties for the Quebec treasury over 30 years.
The World Bank wants to add tens of billions of dollars to its annual budget in an effort to eliminate "extreme" poverty
In the past few days I have received a number of requests form Toronto Hydro asking me to conserve. So when I went into the Body Shop on Bloor Street in Toronto at midday on Wednesday the 17, the doors were wide open as if they were trying hard to air condition Toronto. I beat up on them to close the doors and they did.
When I first heard of "run-of-river" I had it way wrong, I imagined a thousand little micro-turbines in a mountain creek turning like pinwheels as the water flows by. It's more of a kinder, gentler version of bigger hydro power projects -- none of the flooding of massive tracts of land.
Neither opponents nor advocates of the Keystone XL pipeline have entertained auxiliary projects that would reconcile both concerns, such as hydropower. Given the undeniable environmental and economic benefits, it's difficult to understand why or how policy makers have failed to recognize it as a viable solution.
Leaders in the Canadian hydropower industry believe North America can dam its way to a cooler climate, but some experts say that continual increases in energy supply -- whatever the source -- are not the optimal response to the climate crunch. The answer is not more energy, but much more efficient use of it.