Hydropower is this weird “renewable energy” source that no one really knows how to talk about in the popular media.

I don’t recall once hearing a campaigning Barack Obama mention it when he discussed the merits of renewable energy.

Sure, hydropower doesn’t produce as much carbon as a big barrel of oil. But it’s certainly not good for rivers. It’s not about dirty water or dirty air, but it is about fish and now it’s about energy. And it’s definitely about climate change.

Hydropower is caught between conservation and environmentalism.

You see, you can argue about whether or not hydropwer contributes to climate change or if dessicated rivers are as important as clean air.

But with climate change happening, hydropower is no longer a reliable option. As more and more developing countries become dependent on it, their energy circumstances seem to be more precarious than ever.

Call me crazy, but doesn’t it make more sense to not dam up every river — wrecking the abundance it provides for people — and instead look to sustainable sources and other more sustainable development of resources than just putting a bandaid on a problem?

Just a thought.

(Image: Turner’s Falls canal, Massachusetts. Source: Jerry and Marcy Monkman.)

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.


  1. It’s only the dams that are bad – not the power itself. It is sustainable to use turbines that need only low-head – ie no pool of water to create a large flow. Just use the flow naturally occurring in the river. Small turbines can be quite benign and provide local power to keep on a local grid.

  2. There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs, and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. After a brief reprieve gas is inching back up. OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV’s instead had plug-in electric drive trains, the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota. There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called “The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now.”

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