Proposed hydropower dams at more than 350 sites throughout the Amazon require strategic evaluation of trade-offs between the production electricity and the protection of biodiversity.
Researchers are using artificial intelligence (AI) to identify sites that simultaneously minimize impacts on river flow, river connectivity, sediment transport, fish diversity, and greenhouse gas emissions while achieving energy production goals. The researchers found that uncoordinated, dam-by-dam hydropower expansion has resulted in forgone environmental benefits from the river. Minimizing further damage from hydropower development requires considering diverse environmental impacts across the entire basin, as well as cooperation among Amazonian nations.
Alexander Flecker et al., Reducing adverse impacts of Amazon hydropower expansion, Science, Feb. 17, 2022