We sure have gotten ourselves into a pickle. Damming a body of water as large as the Red Sea would certainly provide massive amounts of power (50 gigawatts, if a recent study is to be believed), but it would also displace tens of thousands of people. And, as a hydro-electric project of this scale has never been attempted, the ecological effects are literally impossible to determine.
A 50 gigawatt power plant would be, by far, the largest source of electricity in the world. The largest nuclear plant in the US produces just over 3. The project would provide enough power to switch off oil-burning power plants throughout the Middle East. Political scientists are already estimating the stability such a project would bring to the region.
And, of course, the power would be generated renewably, with no greenhouse gases. But the ecological destruction would, nonetheless, be massive. Fisheries, wetlands, communities, entire ecosystems would be destroyed. Unfortunately, it's unclear if this will be a decision made with the utmost attention paid to the environmental and ethical effects of such a project. The researchers who are studying the possibility of the project say, "If the countries around the Red Sea decide in favor of the macro-project, it is their responsibility to limit the negative consequences as much as possible."
Doesn't sound very promising to me.
written by tracy ho, December 10, 2007
written by James Staunton, December 10, 2007
written by James Staunton, December 11, 2007
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