Hydropower is temporary. Dams silt up, limited rivers, long permitting process

1) Ultimately dams silt up, usually within 25 to 200 years, so hydro-power is not a renewable source of power.

2) We’ve already dammed up the best rivers. There are now more than 45,000 dams around the world, affecting more than half — 172 out of 292 — of the globe’s large river systems.  The largest are 1,000 feet high.

3) Damming prevents salmon and other fish migration.

4) We’ve built dams in more than half of the large river systems and have decreased the amount of sediment flowing to the world’s coasts by nearly 20 percent. This is causing long-term harm to the world’s river ecosystems and raising risks that many coastal areas — sometimes hundreds of miles from the dams — will be flooded soon because they are deprived of sediments that help offset soil erosion. The harmful effects of ebbing soil deposits will be accelerated by the rising sea levels caused by global warming, say the researchers. More than 37% of the world’s population, or over 2.1 billion people, live within 93 miles of a coast.

5) Dams are reducing biodiversity

6) Dams create habitats more easily invaded by invasive plants, fish, snails, insects, and animals

7) dams can increase greenhouse gases as impounded water gets choked with rotting vegetation

8) Dams, interbasin transfers, and water withdrawals for irrigation have fragmented 60 percent of the world’s rivers

9) It can take years to build even a small run-of-river project.  Below are the permits/agencies AMP needed to build 4 run-of-river turbines in the Ohio River:


  1. OPSB Certificate, Ohio Power Siting, Certificates for 50MW+ projects and T-line
  2. Preliminary Permit, FERC, Permit to prepare and submit a License App.
  3. License, FERC, Comprehensive energy project license
  4. NEPA, EPA, Compliance with statute on federal projects
  5. Section 404/10, Army Corps, Impacts to jurisdictional water
  6. Section 408, Army Corps, Permission to impair federal structure
  7. Section 401, OEPA, Impacts to wetlands/streams
  8. Water withdrawal registration, ODNR, Withdrawal of water
  9. NPDES, EPA/OEPA, Discharge of industrial water
  10. Stormwater Permit, OEPA, Manage site/construction stormwater
  11. Historic Preservervation Act, SHPO, Evaluation of cultural/historic resources
  12. Endangered Species Evaluation, ODNR/USF&W, Evaluation of endangered/threatened species
  13. License, FAA, Transmission Tower approval for aviation
  14. ODOT Permit, ODOT, Roadway considerations/crossings
  15. Flood Impact Approval, FEMA, To insure no impacts to flood waters


  1. U.S Dept. of Agriculture-Forestry
  2. National Park Service
  3. U.S. Bureau of Land Management
  4. Federal Emergency Management Agency
  5. U.S. Geological Services
  6. U.S. Department of Commerce

OTHER REQUIREMENT Regional Transmission Organization Interconnection Process (more than 20 MW)–PJM or MISO in our region



Juan Pablo Orego.  River Killers: The False solution of Mega-dams. A chapter within 2012 “The Energy Reader: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth” by Tom Butler, eds et al.

Patrick McCully. 2001. Silenced Rivers: The Ecology and Politics of Large Dams. Zed Books.

World Commission on Dams. 2000. Dams and Development: A New Framework for Decision-Making. Earthscan.

LeRoy Poff, et al. April 3, 2007. “Homogenization of Regional River Dynamics by Dams and Global Biodiversity Implications,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 104, no. 14 pp 5732–5737.

Edward Goldsmith and Nicholas Hildyard. 1984.  The Social and Environmental Effects of Large Dams. Sierra Club Books

Fred Pearce. 1992. The Dammed: Rivers, Dams, and the Coming World Water Crisis.  Bodley Head.

International Energy Agency, Key World Energy Statistics (Paris: IEA, 2010).

World Commission on Dams, Dams and Development

Please follow and like us:
This entry was posted in Alternative Energy, Energy, Hydropower and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.