Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development

Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development 1 Large hydropower dam controversy</h5> The 21st Century faces significant energy challenges on a global scale. Population and economic growth underpin increasing demand for energy from electricity to transport fuels. Social objectives of poverty alleviation, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and energy security present policy makers and business leaders with difficult decisions and critical trade-offs in implementing sound energy policies. Demand for electricity is, for example, slated to almost double between 2010 and 2035 requiring global electricity capacity to increase from 5.2 terawatt (TW) to 9.3 TW over the same period ( IEA, 2011 ). Currently, the de facto strategic response to these big energy challenges is “big solutions” such as large hydropower dams. Are such big solutions in general and large hydropower dams in particular the most effective strategy, on a risk-adjusted basis, to resolve global energy challenges? Might more numerous small interventions be more prudent from the perspective of risk management and maximizing net present value even when they entail somewhat higher per unit cost of production?</P>Proponents of large dams envisage multiple benefits. A big step-up in hydropower capacity along with a long and varied list of corollary benefits: reducing fossil fuel consumption, flood control, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Energy Policy Elsevier

Should we build more large dams? The actual costs of hydropower megaproject development

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd
ISSN
0301-4215
DOI
10.1016/j.enpol.2013.10.069
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

1 Large hydropower dam controversy</h5> The 21st Century faces significant energy challenges on a global scale. Population and economic growth underpin increasing demand for energy from electricity to transport fuels. Social objectives of poverty alleviation, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and energy security present policy makers and business leaders with difficult decisions and critical trade-offs in implementing sound energy policies. Demand for electricity is, for example, slated to almost double between 2010 and 2035 requiring global electricity capacity to increase from 5.2 terawatt (TW) to 9.3 TW over the same period ( IEA, 2011 ). Currently, the de facto strategic response to these big energy challenges is “big solutions” such as large hydropower dams. Are such big solutions in general and large hydropower dams in particular the most effective strategy, on a risk-adjusted basis, to resolve global energy challenges? Might more numerous small interventions be more prudent from the perspective of risk management and maximizing net present value even when they entail somewhat higher per unit cost of production?</P>Proponents of large dams envisage multiple benefits. A big step-up in hydropower capacity along with a long and varied list of corollary benefits: reducing fossil fuel consumption, flood control,

Journal

Energy PolicyElsevier

Published: Jun 1, 2014

References

  • Cleaning up third world debt without getting taken to the cleaners
    Bulow, J.; Rogoff, K.
  • Will it all end in tears? Infrastructure spending and African development in historical perspective
    Mold, A.
  • Behind an ambitious megaproject in Asia: the history and implications of the Bakun hydroelectric dam in Borneo
    Sovacool, B.K.; Bulan, L.C.

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