Friday, June 12, 2009

In the US, windfarms might be replacing dams

I've written about windfarms and about the 4 rivers project (written that way, it has an ominous 3 gorges project sound to it) and I've just found a sort of connection between them.

Part of the Big Rivers project is the construction of dams. The dams should assist in controlling flooding and allow irrigation. I am not sure if they are also designed for power generation.

Perhaps they shouldn't be. In the western US, windfarms are becoming more popular and dams less so.

I'm torn on the issue. Certainly in the past, hydro-electric dams were the cleanest possible method of electrical generation. Nowadays, as they are perhaps less necessary, the problems, known, but minor compared to the other options, are becoming more onerous.

In the article linked above, dams interfere with salmon runs. That isn't such an issue here as, in Yangyang at least, salmon are collected as they enter the river and spawn in tanks at the hatchery.

Still, I am cautious about accepting President Bak's assurances regarding plans for the rivers after his trans-Korea canal scheme that was stopped.


Marcus Peddle said...

Anyone with the nickname "bulldozer" shouldn't be allowed anywhere near projects that might impact the environment.

skindleshanks said...

Overheard by my brother-in-law in a coffee shop in Iowa: "Haven't you noticed how much windier it's been since they put up all those turbines?"

skindleshanks said...

I remember learning in an introductory course in university that hydro dams as they are done in Manitoba are actually great contributors to the production of greenhouse gasses, by flooding with swaths of forest, which dies and decomposes, releasing all that trapped carbon.

kwandongbrian said...

Marcus, I just don't know what the plan for the rivers is. Rehabilitate natural areas but also dredge sections of the rivers? Perhaps they will be empty of wildlife but be clear and clean-looking.

Skindleshanks, my favourite quote of that sort is from the woman who noted that, daylight savings coming a month earlier meant one more hour of sun every day. It's no wonder we have global warming. Hmm, I guess I'm not quoting, but paraphrasing.