SNAPP TEAM:Saving Our Rivers
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Can we transition the power sector to reliable renewable energy sources without damming the world's remaining free-flowing rivers critical for freshwater biodiversity and people's livelihoods?

Meeting climate change mitigation and sustainable development goals requires rapid transition to renewable energy. Hydropower, a reliable renewable energy, is the leading source of renewable-generated electricity. But dams negatively impact the structure and function of rivers that are critical for biodiversity and people’s livelihoods. Wind and solar energy, especially if developed on already converted lands, provide a lower-impact alternative, but can be variable requiring other renewable sources to deliver reliable power. This group seeks to develop integrated models to address these intertwined challenges of grid performance (what technologies and features are needed for a stable grid) with landscape function (where to site those technologies to minimize impacts).


OUR APPROACH: The team will demonstrate how integrating power sector modeling and conservation planning can provide clear guidance for energy policy on how to achieve power systems that are low carbon, low cost and have low conflicts with communities, rivers, and other ecosystems. They will focus on Peru where stakeholders and conservation organizations are committed to develop tools to promote long-term sustainable integration of renewable to meet energy demands.

Team Status: NEW
Team Critical Challenge: Climate Resilience


  • Demonstrate the ability to maximize wind and solar renewable sources and minimize the damming of free-flowing rivers, with a focus on Peruvian rivers that face the risk of hydropower development
  • Illustrate the utility of an integrated modeling approach to identify practical solutions and a planning framework for power systems that are low-carbon, low-cost, and low-conflict with communities, rivers, and terrestrial ecosystems
Eilyan Bitar
School of Electrical & Computer Engineering Cornell University
Joe Kiesecker
Land & Water Conservation Science, TNC
Jeff Opperman
Global Science, WWF
Rafael Almeida
Ecology & Evolution Biology, Cornell University
Christian Contreras Otiniano
TNC, North Andes & South Central America
Juliana Delgado
TNC, North Andes & South Central America
Alex Flecker
Ecology & Evolution Biology, Cornell University
Daniel Kammen
Renewable & Appropriate Energy Laboratory, School of Public Policy University of California, Berkeley
Vijay Modi
Millennium Villages Project, Columbia University
Mariana Montoya
Wildlife Conservation Society Peru
Rafael Schmitt
The Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University, California
Ruth Tiffer Sotomayor
Environment & Natural Resources, World Bank
Mariana Varese
Wildlife Conservation Society Amazonia
Grace Wu
University of California Davis, TNC, The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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