Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

Some countries are already taking advantage of this possibility. Since 2000, 36 dams in the United States have been restored with turbines, adding more than 500 megawatts of renewable generation capacity. There are more possibilities: A 2016 U.S. Department of Energy report found that an additional 4.8 gigawatts of electricity could be generated Non-powered dam retrofitting In the next three decades. In places like the United States and Western Europe, where the dam-building boom of the mid-20th century has long since faded, retrofitting may be the only option for governments to seek out a little more hydropower. “If there are dams that are still in place, let’s try to find a solution and work together for the most optimal solution,” McMany said.

But before anyone starts upgrading all these dams, they may want to look at the numbers again. It is not easy to estimate exactly how much electricity a retrofitted facility will actually produce, as it turns out that not every dam is suitable for conversion. Say someone wants to put a turbine in a dam that was built to hold water so that it can be used to irrigate farmers’ fields. During the growing season, much of that water will usually flow to crops instead of flowing over dams to generate electricity. Or perhaps it is an area where water is high enough to generate electricity for some part of the year. Suddenly those restored dams may not seem like such a smart idea.

A recent study Retrofitted dams in the United States, Also commissioned by the Department of Energy, found that their power output estimates have returned to an optimistic direction: on average, those estimates are 3.6 times higher than the actual output. Studies have shown that the most successful retrofits tend to have concrete dams built primarily to assist in navigation. (Dams are often used to widen or deepen waterways to make it easier for boats to cross.) “This is a complex problem. This is not an easy solution, “said McMahon.

But in countries like Brazil, big dams are still on the agenda. “If they are going to develop and truly improve the quality of life in the whole country, they need energy. It’s long and short, “said Michael Golding, a senior aquatic scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society. The country’s most recent 10-year energy plan outlines nine new large dams Scheduled to be completed Before 2029. Instead of expecting these dams not to be built, it is important to make sure that proper research has been done to ensure that they are built in a way that minimizes environmental degradation, Golding said: “Often the environmental impact structures are not very good. Will define a field and that field of interest does not include all downstream effects and upstream effects. “

The Belo Monte Dam is a good example of how large dams affect the surrounding environment. The dam complex diverted 80 percent of the jingo flow from the 62-mile stretch of the river known as the Big Bend. This part of the jingo is also seen as the only known wild habitat of the zebra plaque একটি a dazzling striped catfish that is a favorite of aquarists. “This species is at great risk of extinction,” said Thiago BA Couto, a postdoctoral researcher at Florida International University’s Tropical Reverse Lab. The impact of the dam on fish species has been well documented elsewhere in the world. In the state of Washington, the Elva Dam disconnects the upper and lower Elva reservoirs, reducing them. Salmon habitat is available by 90 percent. Some endemic species in the river have become extinct, while the population of others – such as the Chinook – has dropped to a fraction of its previous level.

In the end, though, even large dams can exceed their usefulness. In 2014, the last remnants of the Elva Dam were removed forever. The Chinook salmon that had been locked behind two dams for decades is now slowly disappearing Making way for them to return Upstream is expected to take decades to fully recover. “The dam doesn’t last forever,” Couto said. “There are many that have plenty, but are not providing the minimum benefits that they are supposed to.”

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