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If you close coal plants and don't build nuclear, what are your options?

The Canadian province of Quebec recently started construction on a major new hydroelectric project that will cost an estimated $6.5 billion dollars (CAD). The Romaine Hydroelectric Complex will have 1550 MW of capacity and produce 8 terawatt-hours of electricity per year. Consisting of four power plants when completed, it will be able to supply electricity for 450,000 households.

Much of that power could end up in New York state and New England. Hydro-Quebec, the province's public utility, generates over 95% of its electricity from hydropower. It currently exports 21.3 terawatt-hours of electricity per year to Ontario, New York state, and New England, generating over $1.9 billion CAD in revenue for 2008.

Several factors are leading to increased hydroelectricity imports. The Obama administration’s policies on renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions trading, and the shift away from coal power plants means that hydroelectricity becomes more attractive to municipalities. On the other hand, growing power consumption along the eastern seaboard means that new and replacement power generation must be brought online quickly.

The Luther Forest Technology Campus in New York state's Capital Region is expected to require large amounts of power. GlobalFoundries is planning to build its Fab 2 CPU plant there, and GE Transportation will build a new battery plant in the region to support its hybrid-electric vehicle efforts.

Hydroelectricity is a source of constantly available baseload power during the day and night. Baseload power is currently only available from nuclear, coal, natural gas, and hydroelectric sources. Solar and wind power require large amounts of reactionary power from coal and/or natural gas plants to ensure stability in the electrical grid and power supply chain.

Hydroelectric dams usually raise environmental concerns due to flooding needed to create reservoirs for the dams. Over $200 million has already been spent or budgeted on environmental studies, attenuation measures, and environmental monitoring, which is planned to continue until 2040.

Power from the project will be initially available by 2014 and all construction will be completed by 2020.

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RE: Dams are bad for the enviroment
By omnicronx on 5/19/2009 1:41:56 PM , Rating: 4
This project was actually done pretty well. They spent/plan to spend well over 200 million dollars in environmental studies, attenuation measures, and environmental monitoring over the next 30 years.

Some of the measures include:

- $20 million Atlantic salmon development program over 20 years
- Protection of downriver in-stream flows to preserve fish habitats
- Creation of spawning areas and stocking of lakes and tributaries
- Telemetric monitoring of forest caribou
- Recovery of merchantable timber in reservoirs and at dam sites
- Replanting and reforestation of work vicinity
- Development of wetlands and borrow pits, deforestation of sections of reservoir shoreline, and creation of bays to facilitate riparian habitat

P.S I find it funny you focus solely on C02, as though sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, mercury, arsenic, lead and other airborn particles are not released into the air and surrounding areas with current coal burning plants.

RE: Dams are bad for the enviroment
By arazok on 5/19/2009 2:43:40 PM , Rating: 2
200 million on environmental assessments?! How is that even possible? (Don’t tell me, I already know)

By Sulphademus on 5/19/2009 4:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
200 million on environmental assessments?! How is that even possible? (Don’t tell me, I already know)

Thats what I thought at first but the $200mil is a total of whats already been spent combined with what is planned on being spent until 2040 on this assessment project.

Of course, given the nature of government I expect this to become $500mil + $100m for bailouts of companies involved who are in financial trouble + $50m emergency salmon war funding.

By amanojaku on 5/19/2009 2:43:50 PM , Rating: 1
$20 million Atlantic salmon development program over 20 years
For $20 million those salmon should come with lasers. Spawning season would be funny as hell, with salmon shooting each other and getting the bears fat. But bigger bears means bigger farts, thus more CO2. So, I guess no lasers. :-(

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