[Answered ]Highlight the impacts of Large-scale hydroelectric dams on the Himalayas. Also, suggest some alternatives.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.

Body: Explain some impacts of Large-scale hydroelectric dams on the Himalayas. Also write some alternatives.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Hydropower is often considered green energy because it generates electricity from the natural flow of water without releasing any emissions or pollutants. In India, many hydropower projects are under construction or in the planning stages in the Indian Himalaya, including the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh and the Teesta Low Dam Hydroelectric Project in Sikkim.

Impacts of Large-scale hydroelectric dams:

  • The construction of dams can disrupt the flow of rivers, leading to changes in water temperature and chemistry. It can also cause erosion, landslides, and sedimentation which can have a negative impact on the local environment.
  • Dams also disrupt the migration patterns of fish and other aquatic species and impact the local wildlife, particularly if the dam’s construction leads to habitat loss.
  • Large-scale hydroelectric dams displace local communities, affecting their livelihoods and cultural heritage and impacting the overall well-being of the local population.
  • Hydroelectric plants alter the natural habitats of freshwater species in the areas they are located. It changes the concentration of nutrients Downstream river flow suffers a loss of water and silt loads, reducing water quality.
  • Research also shows that dams affect the productivity and stability of estuaries. This led to a loss of habitat for aquatic life and a decline in biodiversity.

Alternatives to hydropower:

  • Micro hydro (100 kilowatts of electricity) systems are typically less expensive to build and maintain than large hydroelectric dams and have a smaller environmental footprint.
  • They can be located even in inaccessible areas and they can provide a reliable source of energy to communities that are not connected to the grid.
  • Micro hydro systems can be classified into two main types – run-of-river and storage systems. Run-of-river systems use the natural flow of water in a stream or river to generate electricity. In contrast, storage systems use a reservoir to store water and release it as needed to generate electricity.
  • The solar industry is dependent on China for photovoltaic cells. If more such cells are made in India at a lower price, with green audits to protect the environment base, it will boost the shift from fossil fuel-based electricity generation to solar power and also provide jobs.

Micro-hydropower projects can also have some impact on the environment and local communities. So, a detailed assessment should be carried out to evaluate the potential impact before proceeding with the project.

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