For over a century flowing water has been used to generate electricity and today hydroelectric energy provides a significant share of electricity in the U.S. and globally. But hydroelectric power is controversial because of the environmental and human effects of damming rivers and flooding land to create reservoirs, as well as the effects of building transmission lines. Hydroelectricity is also renewable, dispatchable energy that generates low amounts of greenhouse gasses. As we attempt to decarbonize our energy sources, we will need more clean renewable electricity. This ECA Mass research paper offers information about hydroelectricity, both pros and cons, so that we can better evaluate the role of hydroelectrical power in helping to meet our clean, renewable energy goals.
The second part of this paper is a look at what is happening as Massachusetts attempts to import hydroelectric power from Canada and build transmission lines through Maine to access that power.
Additional ECA Mass research papers are here.