Dark side of hydropower.

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madd0ct0r
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Dark side of hydropower.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-10-18 03:42pm

http://e.vnexpress.net/news/news/deadly ... 84281.html

On phone so cannot quote properly. There are now hundreds of hydroelectric dams across Asia, especially the steep wet valleys of Vietnam and China. But basically during the ultra heavy rains of a tropical storm, two hydroelectric plants had to dump so much water they flooded 5000 houses and killed 8.

Now without the dam I expect there would have been flooding anyway, but really they knew the storm was coming and should have been drawing down for two days ahead to compensate. But that's a huge financial risk if they run out of water later in the year, and the fine for the damage and deaths caused is less the 2000 dollars.

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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-18 04:45pm

This isn't all that different from the kind of industrial accident that used to occur during the 19th century era of rapid industrialization and development in the First World. It's a combination of infrastructure growing faster than the knowledge base required to operate it safely, and societies where the government can afford to get away with treating life as cheap- and permits infrastructure operators to do the same.
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby Tribble » 2016-10-18 05:22pm

Would it have been more appropriate to use the title of the article rather than "Dark Side of Hydro Power"? I was kind of expecting a debate on the evils of hydro dams and why we shouldn't be building any... or at least whether or not a Sith Lord could use a hydro dam to aid with his force lightning :P
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-10-19 02:26am

I'm quite happy for the thread to go that way. Siltation and environmental collapse we all know about, but this kind of clumsy user error surprised me.
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby LaCroix » 2016-10-20 08:09am

Happened a decade ago in Austria, as well. In 2002 there was severe Flooding in Germany, Czechia and Austria, and the owners of the Ottenstein dam did the same, to some extent - wait too long in order to keep their water levels high. When they realized they couldn't hold all the water and opened the gates, the flood broke several permanent flooding defense dams and caused additional widespread flooding that a preventive strategy could have mitigated. There were no deaths, and the court case was closed as inconclusive, so they got away with a black eye. Dam operators are a lot more proactive in their danger assessments, ever since, though.
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-10-20 12:23pm

Just capitalism.

Profits or people's lives... easy choice, right?
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby Feil » 2016-10-21 01:20pm

You have a funny definition of capitalism if it includes planned economies and state-owned businesses like Vietnam's power generation infrastructure. Greed and self-interest making people put quarterly results over public safety isn't unique to capitalist systems.

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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby Mr Hugh Mann » 2016-10-21 02:29pm

When mulling over the dark side of hydro-power I tend to think of the Banqiao Dam disaster; the event led to an estimated 171,000 deaths and displaced 11 million people.

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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby K. A. Pital » 2016-10-21 03:55pm

Feil wrote:You have a funny definition of capitalism if it includes planned economies and state-owned businesses like Vietnam's power generation infrastructure. Greed and self-interest making people put quarterly results over public safety isn't unique to capitalist systems.

To keep water levels even under risk of causing floods is important for a profit-generating mindset. In a system where keeping the water "just in case" and risking to cause a flood does not mean greater profits, there is no incentive to keep it. The fact that state-owned corporations behave like private entities is lamentable, but entirely unsurprising.
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby LadyTevar » 2016-10-21 05:44pm

On the other side of this, we have the dams involved in the huge floods that his WV earlier this year. Nearly all the major rivers hit flood stage or higher: the Cherry, the Elk, the Greenbrier, the Meadow, the Gauley, the New, as well as dozens of creeks.

As the floodwaters poured in, the Corps of Engineers made the decision to retain as much water as possible, and they shut the gates on as many dams on the affected rivers as possible, especially the largest two dams: the Summersville Dam on the Gauley River and the Bluestone Dam on the New River. Those two rivers join to form the Kanawha River which flows down the Kanawha River Valley to the Ohio River. The Kanawha River Valley contains dozens of larger communities, including the city of Charleston, and also is home to many industrial and chemical plants that ship their product via the Kanawha on barges. Over half of the flooding creeks and rivers formed the watershed for the Kanawha, and the massive influx of water would have overwhelmed the locks, the docks, and the plants themselves.

From 8 a.m. Thursday to noon on Friday, Summersville Lake behind the dam increased by 43.5 billion gallons of water, and in places rose nearly 30ft, flooding campsites but doing no lasting harm. Bluestone Lake rose 25ft (total gallons unknown). This left the Meadow River, responsible for major damages to the towns of White Sulphur Springs and Rainelle (and lesser damage to smaller towns), able to drain into the Kanawha Valley without further trouble. The Kanawha River itself rose only slightly above the normal 20ft flood stage, thanks to the CoE's planning.
Other dams, like the Richwood dam on Cherry River and smaller dams on the Elk River were not fully able to stop flooding, but did make a difference. The Richwood Dam was built with flood gates, which allowed excess water to overflow while retaining maximum capacity safely. Richwood's low-lying areas were hit by the flooding, but the dam held and the damage was localized.

The real fears, however, were for the coal slurry ponds. Some have been standing for decades, left behind as the mines closed while others are rapidly filling from newer mines and mountain-top removal overage. Most of these ponds are located at the heads of hollers above small communities. The last time a slurry dam broke, the community of Buffalo Creek was wiped off the map. We got lucky all of them held.
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby Simon_Jester » 2016-10-21 08:56pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
Feil wrote:You have a funny definition of capitalism if it includes planned economies and state-owned businesses like Vietnam's power generation infrastructure. Greed and self-interest making people put quarterly results over public safety isn't unique to capitalist systems.
To keep water levels even under risk of causing floods is important for a profit-generating mindset. In a system where keeping the water "just in case" and risking to cause a flood does not mean greater profits, there is no incentive to keep it. The fact that state-owned corporations behave like private entities is lamentable, but entirely unsurprising.
Governments are perfectly capable of unwise hoarding behavior, conserving something they expect to be able to use later, even at risk to their own citizens.
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Re: Dark side of hydropower.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2016-10-22 04:54am

Ho Ho hydropower plant on the Ngan Sau River is operated by Northern Electricity Development and Investment Joint Stock Company No.1. The plant is located in Tuyen Hoa District of Quang Binh Province while its reservoir is in Huong Khe District of Ha Tinh Province and Tuyen Hoa.

https://m.vietnambreakingnews.com/2016/ ... al-region/

http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stock ... =116573376

Feil - I'm not seeing any evidence its a state owned business. Joint ventures are usually foreign owned.
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