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April 12, 2005



Well, I think the land behind a potential dam might vary quite a bit in its carbon load (jungle vs desert), but also the management of that carbon load might vary widely. I've seen a fair amount of pre-fill timber harvesting and clean-up here in the US. I guess ideally you'd send what couldn't be lumber off to one of those dual-fuel wood/coal power plants they talk about.

There were a number of articles recently about wood/scraps as a sustainable biofuel.


So, no electrical generation source is perfect...

but when it comes to hydro's impact on the atmosphere, it seems like the "cost" is fixed. The amount of rot on the lake bottom is limited to the vegetation that was in the valley when the dam was formed. Once that rot converts to methane and is released, there doesn't seem to be a continual impact.

Contrast that with burning coal, oil, or natural gas for electricity. Every megawatt generated releases additional carbon or methane gasses into the atmosphere.

The dam results in a fixed release. Fossil fuels result in continual release, for the entire life of the power plant. So, while hydro ain't perfect, I'd bet that the total gas release from hydro is far less than a coal plant generating the same electricity each year for 50 years.

hydroelectric power

Heres one I stumbled across the the other day and had to bookmark it. Very extensive and informative hydroelectric power resource. Hydroelectric power at

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