Making Hydropower ‘Greener’

Published onDecember 10, 2020

Hydropower technology is considered a clean renewable energy source. It is generated by converting kinetic and potential energy from falling water into rotating shaft power, which can be used to drive an electricity generator. However, several studies including one in the Journal of Fisheries Managements and Ecology has recorded extreme harm caused to downstream moving fish that often enter the hydropower structure. Risks to the fish include injuries, scale loss, fin damage, haemorrhages, bruises, skin wounds, amputation of body parts or internal injuries among others. The study explained that conventional power plants are often equipped with Pelton, Kaplan or Francis turbines, which are known for very high fish mortality due to their high rotation speeds, pressure changes and sheer force. In 2018 the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that 18 percent of Southeast Asia’s energy comes from hydropower, which is expected to rise over the next decade. However, the projections of energy use in Southeast Asia indicate that the region will become more reliant on oil and gas. By 2040, it is estimated that the region will register a net deficit in payments for energy trade of over US$300 billion per year, almost entirely due to oil imports.