This summer, the implications of energy technology, such as hydropower dams, solar panels, and natural gas pipelines, affected our society in varying ways. In July, a hydropower dam in southeast Laos that was under construction, nicknamed the 410 MW Project, collapsed and endangered the lives of ~6000 people. The Mekong River in Southeast Asia has always been an attractive source for clean energy acquired by hydropower dams, but the environmental effects of these dams, including soil erosion and lowering fish stock population numbers, threaten the region’s potential for economic growth in the future.
In Africa, scientists have been simulating the installation of solar panels and wind turbines in the Sahara Desert, and have discovered that this could increase the amount of rainfall in the region by increasing ground temperature. And in the Gulf of Finland, the first deep water pipes have been laid for the Russian Nord Stream 2 Pipeline. Despite the intense political opposition to the project, there are not many legal avenues left to stop or even slow its rapid pace of construction. -JK