Research Alert

Some Proposed Amazon Hydro-Dams are Carbon Slobs


1. Hundreds of dams have been proposed throughout the Amazon basin, one of the world's largest untapped hydropower frontiers, and while hydropower is potentially a clean source of renewable energy, some projects produce high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per unit electricity generated (carbon intensity).
2. Researchers looked at carbon intensities of proposed Amazon dams and found that upland dams are often comparable with solar and wind energy, whereas some lowland dams may exceed carbon intensities of fossil-fuel power plants.
3. Based on 158 existing and 351 proposed dams, researchers presented a multi-objective optimization framework showing that low-carbon expansion of Amazon hydropower relies on strategic planning, which is generally linked to placing dams in higher elevations and smaller streams, and that basin-scale dam planning should consider GHG emissions along with social and ecological externalities.
WCS Media Contact:  Stephen Sautner, 7182203682,

Study and Journal:  "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions of Amazon hydropower with strategic dam planning"   from  Nature Communications
WCS Co-Author(s):  Mariana Montoya , Director of WCS's Peru Program


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Nature Communications