428 planned Amazon dams present major disturbances to Amazon floodplains, rainforests, the northeast coast of South America and the regional climate

Hundreds of built and proposed hydroelectric dams may significantly harm life in and around the Amazon by trapping the flow of rich nutrients and modifying the climate from Central America to the Gulf of Mexico. These findings, published in Nature, emerge from a multidisciplinary, international collaboration of researchers from 10 universities, led by scientists at The University of Texas at …

Grid-connected water heaters offer storage capabilities at a fraction of the cost of batteries. The challenge is getting everyone a piece of the returns.

By Herman Trabish, Utility Dive, 20 June 2017 Utilities have always tried to stay out of hot water with their customers. But now, they’re itching to get into it. A wave of interest is building in grid-integrated water heating (GIWH) as a path to system flexibility at a fraction of the cost of battery energy storage. At last count, 53.6 …

Utilities are taking risks when they know of dangers related to fuels and emissions and continue anyway; insurers are resisting

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive, June 15, 2017 More than two dozen insurance companies who previously insured Duke Energy’s coal ash disposal operations say they are not on the hook for cleanup costs because any property damage was “caused intentionally, by or at Duke’s direction.” The 30 insurance companies say they have no liability in the matter because Duke stored …

Deep trouble: how to improve the health of the ocean

The ocean sustains humanity. Humanity treats it with contempt 27 May 2017, The Economist May 27th 2017 EARTH is poorly named. The ocean covers almost three-quarters of the planet. It is divided into five basins: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic and the Southern oceans. Were all the planet’s water placed over the United States, it would form …

Identifying water contamination from fossil fuel development using geochemical and isotopic fingerprints

Duke University Thesis Fossil fuels continue to be a major component of the energy economies in North America, accounting for 60% of electricity generation in the U.S. Recent incidences (i.e. spills) and limited regulation of the fossil fuel industry has generated public concern about the risks fossil fuel development pose to water resources. Previous studies have identified negative impacts on …

Water is getting much, much more expensive in these 30 cities.

By sarah.frostenson@vox.com May 19, 2017 Water utility prices in the US continue to march upward, and now as many as a third of Americans may be unable to pay their monthly water bill. In the past seven years, water rates in the US have climbed more than 50 percent on average, according to a new survey of water rates in 30 …

Declining precipitation in Colorado River Basin worsened by rising temperatures

Scientists found that another factor affected the runoff ratio: temperature. Over the last few centuries, the runoff ratio was reduced when temperatures were warmer. And the influence of temperature strengthened during drier years: When the snowpack was shallow, warm temperatures reduced the runoff ratio more than when the snowpack was deep, further exacerbating drought conditions. The low runoff ratios seen …

Hydropower reservoirs/dams as a source of methane – 21x more climate-forcing than CO2, in the short term

By Duncan Graham-Rowe, 24 February 2005, New Scientist Hydropower polluters Contrary to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate. Proposed changes to the way countries’ climate budgets are calculated aim to take greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs into account, but some experts worry that they will not go far enough. The green image of hydro power as …

Freshwater & renewable energy storage for drought striken regions? Areas for integrated pumped hydro reverse osmosis (IPHRO) system identified

Combined energy and water system could provide for millions: Analysis shows system could economically bring fresh water and renewable energy storage to drought-stricken coastal regions worldwide. Introduction by Kelley Travers | MIT Energy Initiative, 18 April 2017.  Full copy of the article is available at the link and below the overview. The team’s analysis determined that in Southern California, all power …

On a 100-year timescale, dams produce more methane than rice plantations & biomass burning, + push people off land and livelihood

ScienceDaily, 17 May 2017 Water reservoirs created by damming rivers could have significant impacts on the world’s carbon cycle and climate system that aren’t being accounted for, a new study concludes. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Université libre de Bruxelles, appears in Nature Communications. It found that human-made dam reservoirs trap nearly one-fifth …