“Green” hydro power: understanding impacts, approvals, and sustainability of run-of river independent power projects in British Columbia

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Since 2002, the provincial government has required that new sources of electricity come from the private sector. The most popular type of power project now being developed is “run-of-river” hydropower. Large numbers of these projects are now being built and planned, province-wide. The rush for run-of-river power has prompted numerous questions–from anglers, kayakers, hunters, and other concerned citizens–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 Salmon Society recognized the need to answer some of the many questions being raised on run-of-river hydroelectric development in British Columbia. Three questions in particular stood out: 1) How are these projects assessed and approved? 2) What environmental impacts can we expect from these projects? and, 3) How can ordinary citizens provide effective feedback and ensure their concerns are heard?

–Excerpt from the report’s Summary