LARGE DAMS ASA SOURCE OFRENEWABLE ENERGY Glen Singleton, Ph.D., P.Geo., B.C. Hydro Canada
Note: Wind has now expanded to approximately 1.5% International Hydropower Association
HYDROPOWER IN CANADA • > 12% of Global Hydropower • 475 hydro plants. • > 370 TWh from over 89 GW of installed capacity. • Accounts for ~ 97% clean renewable energy supply in Canada. • ~ 118 GW of technical potential remain. (Government of Canada, 2009) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectricity)
China: the world’s hydropower leader • Between 1950-1980, an average of 600 dams / year were built in China. • Nearly one-half of the world’s large dams (22,000) are in China. • 60% of all dams under construction worldwide are in China or India. US & International Water Institutions EVR 5332–Integrated Solutions for Water in Environment & Development September 24, 2007
WORLD’S TOP HYDROPOWER COUNTRIES • ______________________________________________________________ • * • By the end 2006 China had 40,000 small hydro plants, which accounted for 40 GW. • China has 86 GW of large hydro under construction and 40 GW proposed. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectricity) (Worldwatch Institute, 2007)
Most hydro energy comes from large or major dams. • > 15 m high (or 10m with crest >500m) • > 1 million m3 storage capacity • > 2000 m3/sec spilling capacity • unusual design or foundation problems
Small to micro hydro (~70 GW of over 960 GW of installed capacity) • small hydro (50MW-1MW), mini (1MW-100kW) and micro (less than 100kW) (International Water Power and Dam Construction, 2009)
Dam Drawbacks to the Environment • Ecosystem Destruction • Fish Blockage and Wildlife Losses • Large-Scale Flooding Due to Dam Failures • Sedimentation and Salinity • Herbicide and Other Toxic Contamination • Evaporative Losses • Nutrient Flow Retardation • Release of greenhouse gasses Report of the World Commission on Dams ( 2000)
Dam Drawbacks to Human Communities • Human Displacement • Flooding of Cultural Sites • Social disruption • Cost overruns • Socio-economic centralization Report of the World Commission on Dams (2000)
Hydropower Advantages • Energy source is renewable • Can contribute to fresh water storage • Improve grid stability and flexibility • Low pollution and can be low for GHG • Proven technology • Affordable
BC Hydro’s Coursier Dam – Decommissioned in 2003
) (Unit costs versus project size – whole sample 1967-1996, from ICOLD, Grand Inga for Africa)
People Displaced / MW (From: “Large Dams - Learning from the Past, Looking at the Future” IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK and the World Bank Group, Washington, D.C. July 1997) Three Gorges, China Churchill Falls, Canada
http://image09.webshots.com/9/3/0/42/109830042fcnNCG_fs.jpg Barrage , Vadiello Diamer Basha dam. Indus River. Afghanistan. http://www.wilsoncenter.org/events/docs/Hewitt_presentation.pdf Image from: http://www.photo.net/photo/pcd2882/hoover-dam-aerial-91
http://image03.webshots.com/3/6/81/12/97968112fZmUJC_fs.jpg Kununurra Western Australia http://www.kimberleycroc.com.au/activities_and_attractions
China’s Three Gorges Dam • World’s largest dam project. • To be completed in 2009. • >1 mile wide. • ~20,000 MW of installed electricity generation capacity. EVR 5332–Integrated Solutions for Water in Environment & Development September 24, 2007
B.C. HYDRO SYSTEM • 90% HYDROELECTRIC • 30 INTEGRATED GENERATING STATIONS • 54% SUPPLY FROM PEACE (2) AND COLUMBIA (2) RIVERS STATIONS • 11,000 MW TOTAL INSTALLED CAPACITY
Major mitigation methods • Mitigation and compensation commitments during licensing. • Permanent fish and wildlife compensation programs. • Comprehensive water use plans negotiated with government and public. • Ongoing operational controls and monitoring.
Land Impacts per 1,000 GWh Production – Across Resource Options1. 1. Extracted from BC Hydro 2005 IEP Consultation Process. Large Hydro example changed to reflect data from Mica Dam.
Socio-Economic Factors per 2,000 GWh Production – Across Resource Options1. 1. Extracted from BC Hydro 2005 Provincial IEP Committee Consultation.
Emission intensity (tonnes GHG/GWh) for renewable generation technologies. conventional natural gas = 469 tonnes/GWh (Kulcinski, 2002, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Conclusions • Large hydro is an important world wide current and future source of low GHG electricity. • Large hydro comes with significant impacts that must be managed. • On a regional/provincial and per unit energy basis, large hydro can be competitive with other renewables. • Careful planning and mitigation/compensation are required to support large hydro.
SEA for Planning Large Hydro • Provide wider regional planning context for impact assessment. • Consider interdependencies of supply options. • Assess background sustainability of biophysical and social resources. • Early identification of viable alternatives. • Can consider transmission grid development