Recent ERG alum Noah Kittner (MS ’15, PhD ’18) and professor Dan Kammen, along with Stanford postdoc Rafael Schmitt and UC Berkeley professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning Matt Kondolf, published an article this week in Nature. They argue that solar and wind energies are key to maintaining both environmental and human health in river basins around the world.
The authors cite declining costs and improving efficiency of solar, wind, and battery storage technologies as to why their implementation would be both more viable and sustainable than previously proposed hydropower options.
“As more streams are dammed, less sediment reaches the coast and river channels and banks erode, the report states. “Lower river levels allow salt water to intrude into coastal aquifers, diminishing supplies of fresh water. Human health can be affected. For example, across Africa, incidences of the parasitic disease schistosomiasis are rising as dams interrupt the migration of prawns that feed on the parasite’s host, water snails.”
The Nature report’s release coincided with the May 14-16 World Hydropower Congress meeting. Kammen comments, “With the World Hydropower Congress meeting now, members of this important industry group could take action to ensure that all proposed dams recognize and act on this new world of clean and non-destructive energy options.”