Monday, 23 January 2012

The Downside of Hydroelectricity: Methane from All Those Rotting Trees

Le Devoir has an interesting story this morning about the way that the methane escaping from those big dams behind hydroelectric plants in Quebec have not been figured into the greenhouse gases produced in the province.

On paper, Quebec is doing not badly at all, largely because nearly all electricity here is produced by water power. However, if you figure in 8 megatonnes of methane from the hydro lakes now covering huge territories of forest, the picture is considerably worse.

The moral? Any production of energy is going to have its downside, from the noise of wind power installations through the risks involved in nuclear plants to the emissions from coal-fired generators. The trick is to choose the least dangerous--and also to cut down on our energy consumption.

Easier said that done....

No comments: