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Himalayan Hydropower:Sustainability vs. Ecological Stability



  Feb 14, 2024

Himalayan Hydropower: Sustainability vs. Ecological Stability



Himalayan Hydropower: Sustainable Energy vs. Ecological Stability

The Himalayan region, adorned with numerous dams and hydropower projects, stands at the forefront of India’s pursuit of clean and sustainable energy. As of 2023, hydropower contributes approximately 14% to India’s power generation capacity, underscoring its role in the nation’s energy mix. However, this pursuit is not without its ecological and environmental ramifications.

Experts’ Concerns: The ecological sensitivity of the Himalayas is well-documented, with experts highlighting the significant impact that dams and hydro projects have on this fragile ecosystem. The construction of such infrastructure, often accompanied by deforestation, is not merely an engineering feat but a complex interaction with the natural world, with potential long-term consequences.

Activists’ Arguments: Environmental activists have long argued against the unchecked expansion of hydropower projects in the Himalayas. They point to increased disaster risks, such as land subsidence in places like Joshimath, glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), and the heightened intensity of rainfall and floods. These incidents serve as stark reminders of the region’s limited carrying capacity and the dire need for sustainable planning and development.

Sustainable vs. Unsustainable Development: The dichotomy between sustainable energy generation and ecological preservation presents a challenging conundrum. On one hand, hydropower offers a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change. On the other hand, the adverse impacts on the Himalayan ecology underscore the importance of cautious and responsible infrastructure development.

The Way Forward: Addressing this issue requires a nuanced approach that balances energy needs with ecological preservation.


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