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Feb 24 / Dave Schumaker

The Dirty Secret of Hydroelectric Power

The magazine New Scientist is reporting on the effects of hydroelectric power and its contribution to green house gases. According to Philip Fearnside from Brazil’s National Institute for Research in the Amazon:

“large amounts of carbon tied up in trees and other plants are released when the reservoir is initially flooded and the plants rot. Then after this first pulse of decay, plant matter settling on the reservoir’s bottom decomposes without oxygen, resulting in a build-up of dissolved methane. This is released into the atmosphere when water passes through the dam’s turbines.”

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