Hydropower: Huge Source of Methane Emissions

dam-emissions-petit-saut-reservoir
Dire Consequences of Dam Reservoir Emissions, Petit Saut Reservoir, French Guiana. A growing number of scientific studies indicate that reservoirs, especially in the tropics, are a significant source of global greenhouse gas pollution. The “fuel” for these emissions is the rotting of organic matter from the vegetation and soils flooded when the reservoir is first filled. The carbon in the plankton and plants that live and die in the reservoir, the detritus washed down from the watershed above, and the seasonal flooding of plants along the reservoir fringes, ensure that emissions continue for the lifetime of the reservoir. Captions and Photo source: ©© Frédéric Guérin / International Rivers

Excerpts;

Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly because they don’t burn fossil fuels to produce electricity. But what if reservoirs that store water and produce electricity were among some of the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions?

Read Full Article, Climate Central

Sediment Trapped Behind Dams Makes Them ‘Hot Spots’ for Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science Daily (08-01-2013)
The large reservoirs of water behind the world’s 50,000 large dams are a known source of methane. Methane has a warming effect 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. That knowledge led to questions about hydroelectric power’s image as a green and nonpolluting energy source…

Tropical Dams: Ebullition Causes Methane Emissions Considerably More Powerful than CO2, CNRS via ALphagalileo (09-14-2014)

Large Dams Just Aren’t Worth the Cost, The New York Times (10-25-2014)

Small Dams On Chinese River Harm Environment More Than Expected, study finds, NSF (05-30-2013)

Controversial dam projects – in pictures, The Guardian UK
A look is taken at some of the world’s most contentious dam projects, from the Three Gorges in China to Brazil’s Belo Monte dam.

DamNation; a Documentary That’s Testing the Waters of Corporate Social Responsibility; From Felt Soul Media
DamNation is a feature documentary, shown this week at SXSW in Austin, Tx. DamNation’s majestic cinematography and unexpected discoveries move through rivers and landscapes altered by dams, but also through a metamorphosis in values, from conquest of the natural world to knowing ourselves as part of nature…

Elwha, The Grand Experiment (11-12-2012)