Why Hydropower Can't Produce Green Hydrogen by Gary Wockner Over the last two years, I’ve…
May 4, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Gary Wockner, Save The World’s Rivers, 970-218-8310
Tucker Carlson Highlights ‘Green Energy Scam’ of Dirty Climate-Destroying Hydropower
Maine, USA: Over the past week, Tucker Carlson has broadcast a new episode on his “Fox Nation” TV show about the “Green Energy Scam” (see episode trailer here) proposal in Maine. Carlson is also the host of the “Tucker Carlson Show” on Fox News which is the highest-rated primetime cable news show.
On his Fox Nation show (see full episode here), Carlson discusses the proposal for a massive electric utility line across rural forested northern Maine which would bring electricity from hydropower in Quebec down to the rapidly growing human population in the coastal northeast U.S. including New York City. The proposed utility line would clear cut at least 3,000 acres of pristine Maine forest — the project is so controversial that a Maine statewide ballot referendum is collecting signatures to stop it.
In addition to the impacts on Maine, Carlson gives voice to the growing dissent around the Green Energy Scam of hydropower in Quebec and across the world. In the episode, Carlson says, “There’s a real question over whether hydro dams produce clean energy.” In fact, a growing body of science supports Carlson’s statement, that hydropower can sometimes produce more greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than coal-fired powerplants.
In the episode, former Maine State Senator Tom Saviello, who leads the “No CMP Corridor” campaign against the utility line, articulates the two biggest scientific facts about how hydropower produces GHG emissions and makes climate change worse. The first fact is that hydropower causes massive deforestation — cutting down trees that sequester carbon:
“When you build a dam, everything behind it becomes flooded. You cut all the trees down that were sequestering carbon, so that’s lost,” says Saviello.
In fact, deforestation caused by hydropower has led to millions of acres of deforestation across the planet. In just one study in Brazil, two hydropower plants caused ~90,000 acres of deforestation which then released that sequestered carbon into the atmosphere.
Second, Saviello articulates an even larger climate impact caused by hydropower, the release of CO2 and methane from decomposing organic matter in soils and vegetation:
“The soils up there [in Quebec] are full of organic matter. Now you flood it, and there’s no oxygen for that to decompose, so what does it give off? It gives off CO2, it gives off methane. Those are greenhouse gases,” says Saviello.
The science supporting Saviello’s comment is now widely accepted. When soil, vegetation, and other organic matter is flooded, it decomposes ‘anaerobically’ — without oxygen — which releases the potent greenhouse gas, methane. In tropical areas of the world like the Amazon, hydropower dams have been called “methane factories” and can produce up to ten times more GHG emissions than a coal-fired powerplant of equal electric output.
The release of vast amounts of methane caused by hydropower dams and reservoirs also occurs in dry climates and northerly climates. A recent study in PLOS One journal estimated that Hoover Dam on the Colorado River — which feeds electricity to all of southern California — produces as much GHGs as a coal-fired plant. The same study estimated that the largest hydropower plant in Quebec, which created Quebec’s largest body of water — Caniapiscau Reservoir — produces twice as much GHGs as a coal powerplant of equal electric output.
Ironically, at the exact same moment when Carlson is highlighting the Green Energy Scam of hydropower, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced the “CLEAN Future Act” (H.R. 1512) which says hydropower has a “carbon intensity of zero” that “does not produce direct emissions of any greenhouse gas.”
The CLEAN Future Act further calls for the “retirement of fossil-fuel powered electric generating units” and the “deployment of zero-emissions electricity, including electricity generated from wind, solar, nuclear, hydropower, and geothermal energy.” Further yet, the Act changes the federal definition of hydropower to call it “renewable energy“.
“Hydropower is dirty energy, sometimes as or more dirty than coal-fired powerplants,” said Gary Wockner, Director of Save The World’s Rivers. “We support the ballot initiative in Maine to stop the massive electricity line and we oppose the CLEAN Future Act as it’s currently written.”
To read more about “The Myth of Clean Hydropower“, visit Save The World’s Rivers’ webpage here.
Save The World’s Rivers is a new program of Save The Colorado.