Damming the Red Sea might generate 50 gigawatts of electrical power for the Middle EastDecember 6th, 2007 - 2:20 pm ICT by admin
Washington, Dec 6 (ANI): A new report has suggested that building a dam around the Red Sea could solve the growing energy demands of millions of people in the Middle East and alleviate some of the region’s tensions pertaining to oil supplies through hydroelectric power.
If such a massive engineering project does take place, it would be able to release 50 gigawatts of electrical power.
According to geochemical engineer Schuiling, a dam could be used to stem the inflow of seawater into the highly evaporative Red Sea with the potential of generating 50 gigawatts of power. By comparison, the Palo Verde nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear station in the US has an output of just 3.2 gigawatts.
Though the size of the hypothetical dam would be enormous, it might be possible in the future to build dams large enough to separate a body of water as large as the Red Sea.
A major advantage of building such a dam would be that it will provide enormous reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as well as offering a viable, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels for future generations.
But the huge dam around the Red Sea would have its share of negative aspects as well.
“Such a project will dramatically affect the region’s economy, political situation and ecology, and their effects may be felt well beyond the physical and political limits of the project,” said Schuiling.
Schuiling and his colleagues point out that the cost and timescales involved in creating such a hydroelectric facility are way beyond normal economical considerations. It is inevitable that such a macro-engineering project will cause massive devastation of existing ecologies .
So, the ethical and environmental dilemmas are on an international scale, while the impact on ecology, tourism, fisheries, transport and other areas could have effects globally.
The researchers point out that the precautionary principle cannot be applied in making a decision regarding the damming of the Red Sea.
“If the countries around the Red Sea decide in favor of the macro-project, it is their responsibility to limit the negative consequences as much as possible,” they conclude.
An example of such a macro-scale engineering project is already planned for the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. This seawater barrier will exploit the evaporative cycle and influx of seawater to generate vast quantities of electricity. (ANI)
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