Dams and renewable energies in social and economic development

Roles of Dams and Renewable Energies

The availability of energy is essential for the socio-economic development of a nation. It is advantageous to use energy that is clean, efficient, dependable and renewable. Hydropower meets all of these requirements. In countries, where a vast amount of development still lies ahead, good conditions often exist for renewable energy sources. The technically most advanced and economical source of renewable energy is hydropower.

Dam projects can provide considerable benefits to national economies and the targeted beneficiaries. Dams are more than just concrete structures, and can generate more than just electricity. They have also used to promote ideologies of national pride and progress, and have served as symbols of national aspirations. Dams therefore provide an entry into a variety of issues concerning national economic and political development, such as concepts and ideologies of development, the significance of international aid, the role of civil society, and the significance of human rights. The number and size of large dams, built to boost economic development have increased in recent decades with most of them in developing countries. Most industrialized countries have either developed larger prospective sites or have excluded them from development due to environmental concerns. The social consequences of a large migration  of workers and their families to hydro dam sites cause an instant population boom that can place a strain on resources.  Conversely, this could ultimately lead to local economic development.

All over the world, dams in the  first category are for irrigation. 50 % of the large dams were built exclusively or primarily for irrigation. Some positive functions of dams and hydro projects include irrigation, hydroelectric power generation; domestic and industrial water supplies for large cities; recreation and research on water-related planning, design and construction materials. The most of the dams projects have not only the purpose of economic benefits, but also, in these projects the socio-economic development of the local people is highly considered. In this respect, the dams projects would help prevent the mitigation to the cities, while giving them a high level of life standards in their native areas. Additionally, in some countries, where the semi-arid climate is highly dominated, it is admitted as a need that building the reservoirs in order to use the water resources with an efficient manner, for the purpose of the economic development of the country, would be highly beneficial.

Moreover, hydro-energy is one of the cleanest energies so far. All dams are best places for recreations. Dams provide food to the people by irrigating the arid lands and by fisheries. Dams provide waterways for communications and transport. The cost of maintaining energy security in today’s industrialized countries comes at high, but usually hidden, costs that find expression in military and security spending. The volatile world market prices for conventional energy sources, in particular oil, pose great risks for large  parts of the world’s economic and political stability, with sometimes dramatic effects on energy-importing developing countries. In this context, renewable energies can help to diversify energy supply and to increase energy security. It should increase the economic benefits that result from transformations in energy trading patterns.

Additionally, in the mid-and long-term perspective renewable energies prolong the availability of most fossil fuels for the satisfaction of both energy needs and numerous other non-energy needs.