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Title: Using stated preference methods to assess environmental impacts of dams in Portugal: local vs national welfare effects
Authors: Botelho, Anabela
Gomes, Lina Sofia Matos Lourenço
Pinto, Lígia
Sousa, Sara
Valente, Marieta
Keywords: dams
stated preference methods
contingent valuation
discrete choice experiments
environmental impacts
public attitudes
Issue Date: Sep-2015
Abstract: The construction of dams, particularly large dams, has been highly controversial and the debate over it has become more heated during recent years. Despite their well- known benefits, the activity of dams in the electricity generation process is far from being environmentally harmless. Biodiversity limitation, impacts on fauna and flora, flooding of large areas of farmable land, water quality degradation, landscape intrusion, heritage destruction and noise are just some of the adverse impacts caused by the dams’ activity. However, hydropower has considerable advantages compared with other energy sources, namely it does not produce significant amounts of greenhouse gases emissions and contributes to the diversification of the energy mix, also decreasing the external dependency of the economy. The nature of the benefits of using hydropower is mostly national, while the adverse effects are mostly local, which raises an equity question rarely addressed. We propose to elicit the effects of the presence of specific dams on the welfare of local communities in the vicinity, and compare this number to how much the general population is willing to pay to prevent the effects. To elicit the welfare effects on local residents we use the contingent valuation method; while for the second group we elicit respondents’ willingness to pay to avoid some environmental impacts of hydropower production. The results show that the presence of the selected facilities affects the individuals’ well-being; and that the welfare of the general population is significantly and negatively affected by the environmental effects considered in the study. Thus, the results demonstrate that the welfare of local residents, as well as of the general population, is negatively affected by the existence of large dams and thus the welfare of these stakeholders should be part of the decision-making process regarding the siting of new dams, so as to attain a decision as fair and economically efficient as possible.
Peer Reviewed: yes
ISBN: 978-972-789-459-8
Document Type: Conference Object
Appears in Collections:CETRAD - Comunicação em Conferência

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