Tucurui Dam
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Hydropower is generated in more than 150 countries. In purely financial terms, it can be a cheap form of electricity, but the social and environmental impacts are often huge.

Hydropower Propaganda Disguised as Science

A new report by the International Energy Agency reads like a propaganda piece by the dam industry. It calls for a massive expansion of hydropower dams, while consistently downplaying the impacts and risks of these projects.

Proving Sustainability in the Dam Industry

Hydropower corporations that have joined the HSAP make claims they are sustainable, but could it be anything more than a public relations opportunity?

Chinese Hydropower Scorecard Doesn't Fill the Accountability Gap

Great Bend of the Jinsha (upper Yangtze) River, China
Great Bend of the Jinsha (upper Yangtze) River, China The International Hydropower Association launched its non-binding sustainability guidelines scorecard in Beijing today, hoping to attract Chinese dam builders to what is turning out to be the world's latest industry-led greenwash.Yet the scorecard, called the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol (HSAP), may do little to fill the accountability gap that exists between country regulatory systems. The HSAP makes no requirement of developers to comply with national and international legislation.What's more, the HSAP has no real buy

World Bank, Climate Change and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?

Friday, April 15, 2011
In April, 2011, we co-authored a report with Groundwork and Friends of the Earth on energy financing at the World Bank, titled "World Bank, Climate Change, and Energy Financing: Something Old. Something New?". Read the report below, and download the report at the link that follows. Download the report (courtesey of Scribd)

Hydropower Industry Needs Standards, not Scorecards, to be Sustainable

Itaipú dam
Itaipú dam The International Hydropower Association (IHA) just launched the “Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol” (HSAP) at its bi-yearly Congress in the town of Foz do Iguaçú, Brazil, last week. The Protocol is in reality only a scorecard that rewards hydropower companies and financiers with a greenwashed stamp of approval; it does not represent a true step towards the actual practice of sustainability in the sector. The Protocol is a risky way of helping developers achieve true social and environmental sustainability, because it doesn’t require developers to meet any s

Conservation Strategy Fund Report: Risk Scenarios and Environmental Issues around the Belo Monte Dam

Monday, August 16, 2010
ABSTRACT: The Amazon region is the final frontier and central focus of Brazilian hydro development, which raises a range of environmental concerns. The largest project in the Amazon is the planned Belo Monte Complex on the Xingu river. If constructed it will be the second biggest hydroelectric plant in Brazil, third largest on earth. In this study, we analyse the private and social costs, and benefits of the Belo Monte project. Furthermore, we present risk scenarios, considering fluctuations in the project’s feasibility that would result from variations in total costs and power. Download the

New Data Confirms Big Hydro's Relative Decline

My recent blog comparing the global hydro industry’s stagnation with the rapid growth in the wind and solar sectors was based on preliminary data for wind and solar in 2009, and my guesstimate for that year’s hydro additions. Better statistics are now available for all three technologies. In my blog I stated that the wind industry had likely installed at least a quarter more generating capacity than big hydro in 2009. The new stats, from the “Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century,” or REN21, shows that large hydro lagged even further behind than I had guesstimated.

Big Hydro Falls Behind

Annual capacity additions of dam-based hydro and new renewables
Annual capacity additions of dam-based hydro and new renewables I just blogged on the Huffington Post about how the global wind power industry is blowing big hydro right out of the water in terms of how many turbines it is installing every year. In 2002, new installations of wind power worldwide exceeded the capacity of new big hydro for the first time ever. Wind power engineers installed more megawatts than their big hydro competitors three times over the following six years. [While no hydro data are yet available for 2009] data on trends in new big hydro capacity from the last decade sugg
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