It’s basically emissions free and a cornerstone of today’s global renewable energy supply. But many hydro-electric plants destroy rivers and the communities that live in and around them. Are hydropower’s intrusive dams the price we have to pay for carbon neutrality? Paul Hockenos reports
Costa Rica enjoys widespread international fame for being one of the “greenest” countries on earth. The small Central American state has repeatedly been praised for its outstanding efforts in combating climate change, for its reforestation efforts and for generating almost all its electricity from renewable energy sources. Though the government has adopted an ambitious economic plan to make the country carbon neutral by the middle of the century, “green” policies are sometimes not as rosy as they seem. Rebecca Bertram reports from San José.
While in North America and Europe more hydropower plants are being dismantled than built, many countries in Latin America continue to invest in the controversial renewable energy source. In Colombia, two hydropower plants are to be installed in the Amazon region. Social-ecological and cultural costs of the project are not taken into account. Kathrin Meyer reports about the serious impacts that hydropower could have on the zone.
Six are on the path to self-sufficiency, and 20 more will follow. Islands are an excellent fit for renewables for a number of reasons. Paul Hockenos takes a look
Why isn’t it? Powerful interests in the energy sector see renewables in terms of hydro, hydro, and more hydro. It’s not what the country – or the region — needs, says Paul Hockenos.
One widespread objection to renewables is the fact that they need some kind of backup, such as gas or hydro power. But as technologies advance, the possibility of storing electricity generated by renewables seems like not-a-too-distant future. The new concentrated solar power plant in Chile is bringing Latin America to the forefront, says Maximiliano Proaño.
The global transition to clean energy is upending markets, social structures, laws, and much more that falls outside of the traditional energy sector. Since we’re all relatively new at it, it’s critical that we keep a close eye on the biproducts and unintended consequences of climate protection – in order to tweak and reform when necessary. Paul Hockenos takes a look at how dams in the Balkans, while renewable, are anti-environmental.
The latest hydropower dam collapse raises questions about the proliferation of large-scale energy projects. With extreme weather from climate change, what is the future of hydropower for southeast Asia? ask Lars Blume from GreenID Vietnam and Michael Simon from International Rivers.
Chile’s share of renewable energy has tripled in the past five years. Maximiliano Proaño takes a look at the policy behind this massive growth, and the road ahead.
Marine hydropower could make waves in renewable energy, if it can overcome technological and financial challenges. Chris Bentley takes a look.