The Future of Hydropower

Published 5/19/2021  |  California Trout

Dams have a notorious reputation; there’s a long history of environmental damage caused by dams, from blocking migrating fish to withdrawing access to Indigenous people.

Yet, dams do boost some positive impact from the electricity they generate; this is energy free of planet-warming climate emissions.

It’s safe to say then that the controversy surrounding dams is a complicated one. Many conservation groups are now working with the hydropower industry to find common ground. There is a good opportunity here to upgrade some existing dams to generate more power, while also tearing down older dams and making others more fish-friendly.

“The hydropower structures that we have, some make more sense than others. Some do bigger damage than others. Some generate more [energy] than others. In some places, we’re going to have to invest in infrastructure. But let’s also invest in undoing some things that never should have been done in the first place,” explains Curtis Knight, CalTrout’s Executive Director in a recent article on hydropower in the LA Times. 

To learn more about CalTrout’s work with the removal of outdated dams, check out our webpage, Dams Out.

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