Resource: Run-of-River Hydropower in BC: A Citizen’s Guide to Understanding Approvals, Impacts, and Sustainability of Independent Power Projects
Authors / Publisher: Watershed Watch Salmon Society
Date: August 2007
‘Run-of-river’ hydropower is promoted in British Columbia and elsewhere as an environmentally-friendly solution to humanity’s ever-increasing energy demands. The rush to implement large-scale run-of-river projects (sometimes called Independent Power Producer, or, IPP projects) has prompted queries and debate about what these projects portend for people and the environment.
Development of new energy sources comes with trade-offs and environmental costs—even for renewable and ‘clean’ energy projects. Because the technology is relatively new, people are understandably anxious to learn more about these projects, particularly about economic and environmental costs and benefits.
Watershed Watch Salmon Society recognized the pressing need for a Citizen’s Guide to run-of-river hydropower, and produced this report to help answer many of the questions people are now asking about these projects—particularly about how run-of-river projects work, how they affect the environment, how the projects are approved and monitored, and how citizens’ input will be treated.
Watershed Watch’s more technical companion document, “Green” Hydro Power: Understanding Impacts, Approvals, and Sustainability of Run-of-River Independent Power Projects in British Columbia, is available for more information on the issue.
Researched and written for Watershed Watch Salmon Society by Tanis Douglas and edited by Peter Broomhall and Craig Orr. This Citizen’s Guide was made possible through all the citizens who contribute to the Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. Photos graciously provided by the provincial Ministry of Environment, the Independent Power Producers of BC (IPPBC), and the BC Conservation Foundation. Watershed Watch also thanks the many experts who provided advice and reviews.