Tag Archive for 'hydropower'

Riots over forced migration at Chinese dam project leave 50 hurt

Photo retrieved from: treehugger.com

“Thousands of people clashed with police in southwestern China’s Yunnan Province over compensation for being forced to resettle for a dam project, a human rights watchdog and the government confirmed Wednesday.

“The Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said thousands of people blocked major traffic routes in Suijiang County from Friday until Tuesday when 1,500 paramilitary police, led by an armored vehicle, forcibly dispersed the crowd, leaving 30 protesters and 20 police injured.

“The Hong Kong-based center said an ambulance was wrecked after paramedics in it took care of injured police and ignored protesters.

“About 100,000 people in the region are to be moved to make way for the construction of a dam and power plant on the Jinsha River, but disputes over payment for grave removal and resettlement remain unresolved.

“The center said the government offered people 1,000 yuan ($152) for grave removal that cost more than 5,000 yuan and that the people are dissatisfied with the quality of resettlement houses that are located in an earthquake zone.”

Read more: iStockAnalyst

Uganda’s Karuma dam costs escalate to $2.2 bln

The Karuma Falls hydropower project site. Photo retrieved from: in2eastafrica.net

“CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – The cost of Uganda’s new 700 megawatt Karuma hydropower project has more than doubled to $2.2 billion and the government may tap foreign bond markets to fund the plant, an industry official said on Monday.

“In September Energy Minister Hilary Onek told Reuters the cost of the plant, situated on the Nile River, was estimated at $900 million.

“We have just completed a feasibility study and it says $2.2 billion,” John Mugyenzi, managing director of Uganda Electricity Generation Company, told reporters on the sidelines of an African power conference.

“We expect construction to start late this year, early next year with first power within five years,” Mugyenzi said.

“He said the government may consider tapping international foreign bond markets to help fund construction costs.”

read more: Reuters; Africa

Ethiopia: Kenyan protests could compromise mega electric project?

“After massive protests in Nairobi, Kenya, last weekend, against the construction of Ethiopia’s mega hydro electric dam, Gilgel Gibe III, calling on China to stop financing it, Ethiopia has announced that at least 41 percent of the dam’s construction works has been completed.

“Azeb Asnake, Engineer and manager of the project, appeared on Ethiopian state television last Monday to give details on the completion of the 243-meter high dam. Its 211 km2 reservoir is expected to be the first in Africa in terms of capacity.

“A group of International and Kenyan NGOs, since the inauguration of the project three years ago, have been lobbying international financial institutions and donors to hold their financial support of the hydropower dam arguing that it will significantly impact the water level of Lake Turkana. The activists say the outcome will negatively affect the livelihoods of herdsmen in the region.”

Read more: Afrik-News

Keeping the waters wild – Paddler challenges run-of-river projects

“For elite-level kayaker Ryan Bayes of Abbotsford, paddling B.C.’s myriad creeks and rivers is as close as he’ll get to heaven on Earth.

““I love the exploration and adventure of not doing the same old thing every day,” said Bayes, 27. “Sometimes, I’ll hike two or three hours to get to a creek that has no road going to it. Sometimes it’s a total waste of time.

““But sometimes I’ll end up in a canyon where no human being has probably been before.”

“These days, Bayes’s paddling pursuit has an added element of urgency. He’s concerned about the proliferation of run-of-river Independent Power Producers (IPPs) – privately operated hydroelectric stations, generally on streams in heavily forested regions of the province.”

Read more: Abottsford News

Iraq’s largest hydropower dam grinds to halt

“Record low water levels at Iraq’s largest hydroelectric dam have ground turbines there to a halt, amplifying a power shortage that led to riots last summer, a top official said on Thursday.

“Adel Mahdi, advisor to the electricity minister, said water levels at the Mosul dam on the Tigris River had fallen to 298 metres (977 feet) above sea level.

“”It is the first time since 1984 when the dam was built that water levels have fallen this low,” Mahdi told AFP.

“”The installed power generation capacity of Mosul’s hydroelectric plant is 1,175 megawatts, but the current production is zero, because the turbines need a minimum water level of 307 metres (1,007 feet) to operate,” he added.”
Read more: Yahoo News 

Putting the Hydro Industry’s Fox in Charge of the Henhouse?

Photo retrieved from: www.gis.rdg.co.uk

“The International Hydropower Association, the hydropower industry’s main lobbying group, has released what it calls a Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol. Developed with a select group of partner institutions over the past three years, the Protocol is a scorecard to assess how hydropower projects compare against a list of relatively vague criteria. It is not a binding set of social and environmental standards.

The new protocol does not define any bottom lines of acceptability. For example it does not require that projects comply with national law. Many scores for “basic good practice” are weaker than existing standards – and particularly the framework of the World Commission on Dams (WCD) – in important aspects. In the eyes of the dam industry, “basic good practice” does not, for example, require that all available energy options are assessed in a balanced way.

The Protocol states that the scores for basic good practice are “broadly consistent” with the industry group’s own Sustainability Guidelines of 2004. As Shripad Dharmadhikary of the Manthan Research Center in India has pointed out, “the protocol is essentially designed to assess projects against a standard developed by the hydropower industry itself, which clearly has a vested interest in the standards being less stringent”.”

Read more: International Rivers

Ethiopia’s rush to build mega dams sparks protests

Hydro dam site at Omo river, Ethiopia

“At the foot of a towering gorge slicing through southern Ethiopia the Omo river suddenly disappears into a tunnel bored into the rockface. Excavators claw at the soil and stone in the exposed riverbed beyond, where a giant concrete wall will soon appear in the ravine.

“At 243 metres the Gibe III dam will be the highest on the continent, a controversial centrepiece of Ethiopia’s extraordinary multibillion-pound hydroelectric boom.

“This week a coalition of campaign groups, including International Rivers, based in California, and Survival Internationallaunched an online petition with the aim of stopping the dam, warning of potentially disastrous social and economic effects for tribes downstream.

“It’s an unnecessary, highly destructive project,” said Terri Hathaway, Africa campaigner for International Rivers.”

read more: Guardian