Friday, October 17, 2008

Damning the West with dams

What do you think about building big new dams? Scary threats to rivers? Or sweet renewable energy? The answer is both, and we have to figure out how to do the balance sheet.

Green energy is everyone's big new thing. Let's build a green economy, using renewable energy, save the planet, and create jobs. Cool, I'm on board.

What is renewable energy anyway? The closer we look at supposedly renewable energy like hydropower dams, the more we see resources being consumed. Hydropower dams are not completely renewable energy, they consume river ecosystems. But is it more important to protect river ecosystems or to avoid CO2 production?

These big, scary questions need answers.

Because the pressure for new dams is very current and very real. Lacking a smart plan, we'll just go ahead and do it piecemeal. And that's a move we'll regret. Just like we're reconsidering the dam-building frenzy of the early to mid-1900s.

4 comments:

crystal said...

just curious: which dam is pictured?

grand coulee, perhaps?

Mark Powell said...

you got it crystal, grand coulee. great dam insight! it's the biggest fish and river killer of them all.

jeffry r. johnston said...

i agree

Dr. Jay SW said...

The biggest problem with any kind of energy is the general attitude of "whatever it takes so that we can keep being as wasteful as we are." The only thing more tragic than all of the dams on the Colorado river is that so much of the energy created goes to power the garish light displays of Vegas casinos. So, basically, I think that, first of all, we need to take as serious, or more serious, a look at our energy usage, as our energy sources. Wherever the energy's gonna come from, our current (no pun intended) way of life has got to change significantly.

Great blog you've got here.