A fascinating piece on the way small hydro schemes are killing the rivers in the Balkans.
In Europe, 91 percent of the planned 8,000 hydropower plants are “small”, meaning they have an installed capacity of less than 10 megawatt. “Small is beautiful” is what many people think when they hear about small hydropower development. However, the facts show a different picture: migratory fish population in EU have declined by 93% since 1970; on the Balkans 49 fish species are at risk of going extinct, mostly threatened by small dam projects.
Small hydropower is the Trojan horse of genuine renewable energy. Promised as a low impact, environmentally friendly, renewable source of electricity production, the propaganda of small hydropower has convinced many people that it is good for them, good for the climate and good for nature. However, like the deception of Troy where the small garrison of soldiers crept out of the horse under the cover of darkness and opened the gates to the army that then sacked the city, small hydropower is an artifice that does nothing but wanton damage. But unlike the mythological story of Troy, small hydropower’s treachery is real. Once let loose on our rivers, creeks and streams, it wreaks real havoc on natural ecosystems and the communities that depend on them to survive.
And not just the Balkans, it is happening all over Europe. The story is illustrated by masses of pictures from drones hovering over the sites.
PLUS A BONUS ON THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “ENERGY ONLY” AND “CAPACITY MARKETS” FOR ELECTRICITY
Riffing on the disaster in Texas, the author makes some points about planning for worst case scenarios and the way this was neglected in Texas. The point is that providers have to choose between minimising the immediate cost of power by planning for normal loads or increasing the price to maintain spare capacity to maintain supply in worst case scenarios.
The incentive for gas generation to do the right thing was taken away by Texas’s deliberate energy only market strategy. The purpose of which was to aid the profitability of intermittent wind and solar resources and increase their penetration levels. I don’t believe anyone has ever advanced the notion that fossil fuel plants might operate based on altruism. Incentives and responsibility need to be paired. Doing a post-mortem on the Texas situation ignoring incentives and responsibility is inappropriate and incomplete.
It is pretty obvious that our state planners have no idea about planning for wind droughts and they can get away with that as long as we have almost enough conventional power to provide almost all the demand, almost all the time.
WIND DROUGHT AT PRESENT 11.00am
Wind providing 3% of demand, running at 8% of capacity. This will change of course, and it doesn’t matter because fossil fuels are providing 75% of the modest demand at present.
And SA importing.
3pm, in SE Australia, wind 5% at 12% capacity, RE a third of demand. WA, wind 2%.
DINNERTIME. NOT QUITE A WIND DROUGHT BUT THE SUN FADING FAST
Peak load for the day although it is only 27GW, not a working day or a heatwave. At 7.15 the wind was delivering 7% of demand in the SE and 14% in the West. Solar will soon be gone in SA and then 3 hours later in the west. The windmills are working at 22% of capacity, not far short of the average.
South Australia is importing.
Just to get a reminder of the gap between where we are and where the RE mafia want to go, see how much of the red, brown and black bars on the NemWatch display has to be turned into green!