The Most Important Impacts of Sustainable Energy Facilities

The most important impacts of sustainable energy facilities are based on the general knowledge of the authors, who utilized their practical experiences from the Slovak Republic.

7.4.1 Hydroelectric Power Plants

7.4.1.1 Negative Impacts

Hydroelectric water plants are relatively expensive and are associated with signif­icant negative environmental and social impacts. These impacts significantly depend on the type of hydroelectric power plant: accumulation, derivative, flow, pumped, or combined type. The main negative impacts, listed below, are mainly associated with the following significant effects:

– Changes of water flow and water quality in a river modify living conditions for aquatic organisms, especially fish;

– Dam lakes separate fish populations living in the lower and upper parts of a water course and block migration routes;

– Construction of a dam causes changes in local climate and groundwater levels with high territorial radius;

– Changes of water flow may result in changes of sediment transfer; sedimentation in a reservoir can lead to erosion in the lower part of the water course;

– Construction of a water dam causes increased transfer of mud and sediment, thereby reducing water quality in the lower part of the water course;

– Construction of the water dam changes visual effects.

7.4.1.2 Positive Impacts

In addition to the fundamental socioeconomic impacts typical for energy construc­tions, it is possible to consider contribution to summer tourism, potential recrea­tional space near water increasing water sports and fishing, as positive impacts of hydroelectric power plants and therefore resulting in significant increase of tourism in the chosen area. Flood protection and possible use of more environmentally friendly shipping can be also considered as a significant positive impact.