Cheap, abundant renewable energy powers cluster of Quebec data centers

By Anne-Sophie THILL

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It is a "good thing" the cement plants (used in concrete dams and huge carbon emitters) are not only exempt from the carbon tax in Canada, they are exempt from even being included in Quebec's carbon emissions table.

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Quebec is fortunate in that it has lot's of space and a small population. Most of the province is forest and lakes which is ideal for developing hydroelectric power. Yes there is often massive environmental and social impact as land has to be flooded and people relocated. In the case of Quebec native Canadians who rely on the land to live. Luckily there are lot's of other areas that can provide a similar environment when relocated.

Once developed though, it is renewable, relatively clean energy relying on rushing water to power turbines with little waste. Very little fossil fuels involved.

Unfortunately Japan's geography limits hydroelectric development as it's mountainous and heavily populated. Though with rural areas undergoing massive depopulation and little economic potential, areas such as Tohoku may be ideal to for hydro.

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The CO2 generated in building the dam is dwarfed by even a single month of clean hydro electricity.

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The key word is “cheap.” Renewable energy has to be economically viable or it does more harm than good.

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There are more environmental costs that you realize. The entire downstream watershed from one of these dams is devastated. The reservoir absorbs a lot of heat in summer so the water downstream is much warmer during the winter months which changes the ecology of the entire river basin. Something as simple as delaying winter ice cover in the fall and hastening river ice melt in the spring has far greater effects than you may realize. All of the small creeks that lead into the river downstream are also effected. Riparian zones downstream are destroyed and flora and fauna that depend on riparian habitats are devastated.

The white elephant power dam being built in B.C. will do an estimated $9 billion worth of ecological damage to the Peace River basin downstream in Alberta.

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