We’ve all heard of hydropower, and it is, in fact, the largest form of renewable energy in the world, producing 21 per cent of the renewable energy and supplying over one-seventh of the earth’s population with power. Hydropower is the name of electricity generated from the gravitational force of water.
Hydropower is a very positive source of energy as it produces few fossil fuel, or greenhouse gases. Hydropower has a long history of usage, though the first plant as we know it was built in 1878. The first half of the 20th century saw a number of hydropower plants built, especially in the USA, which saw some colossal developments of this form of power.
The largest dam, however, in the world producing this sort of power is in China – The Three Gorges Dam. Hydroelectricity is producing increasing amounts of China’s domestic and business energy, with many more dams planned. In some countries, hydro, electric power will supply 85 per cent of their energy needs meaning the end of requirements for fossil-fuel domestic and business energy. Countries with large amounts of running water such as Norway and Paraguay expect this to be the case.
Three Gorges Dam of China, in Yichang city, Hubei province
Hydroelectricity power is created through a number of different methods. The most common power comes from dams and builds up and funnels water with a dam. This water is used to drive a water turbine and creates electricity.
Pumped storage uses a method of supply and demand for power and two reservoirs at different elevations to create power. When demand for energy is low, water is pumped into the higher reservoir and when demand is high this water is released to the lower reservoir and ran through a generator on the way to create power. Run of the river systems, where the flow of the river is used with a turbine and tidal systems where the rise and fall of the tide produce power also exist.
There are a number of pluses for using this form of power generation – one of the most obvious being cost. There is no need for fuel with hydroelectric power and no need for fossil-fuel fluctuations, or imports to be considered. The plants also last long periods and are usually automated. These dams cost little to build and return their investment in a number of years.
Once again, the fact hydroelectric power does not need fossil fuels means it is a positive. These dams don’t create CO2 directly. In fact, hydroelectricity produces the least amount of carbon dioxide of any source when production, construction and running come into consideration according to a study by the University of Stuttgart.Reservoirs can also be used for a number of other positive uses, such as for fishing, sports and irrigation. They can be constructed to control areas prone to flooding and prevent it.
They do, however, need large areas of land and submerge a once dry area in water. This affects the natural surroundings and the local environment. They do dissolve the oxygen content of water, which can damage fish. People may have to relocate because of this.
Reservoirs often become full of sediment as the water is carrying silt, but going nowhere and it all eventually deposits in the area – this can cause problems for the dam. Finally, if a dam breaks it ends up as a natural disaster on a huge scale and people can be killed in their masses.
Hydroelectric power has its positives and negatives. However, still is one of the most important sources of power in our world and can be used for both domestic and business energy.
Do you want to know how hydropower or hydroelectric energy works? Well, if you want to know more about this, you might want to check out our hydropower energy facts that we have compiled to save you the headache of researching for it on your own. We have just the right type of information about it and we are sharing it with you right now, all you have to do is read. And by the time you finished reading this article, you will have a general idea about hydropower or hydroelectric energy which is one of the best alternative sources of clean energy. So sit back, relax and read on.
Hydropower energy facts
How does it work? Basically, this is made possible by gathering the potential energy from flowing water. A natural force called gravity pulls the water downstream and into the turbines. These turbines are turned by the force of the water, thus, creating electricity. This process is basically similar with all electric generators. Mostly, huge hydropower plant needs very strong water current to power it, like water flowing from falls or dams. That is why it is a common sight to see a hydropower plant beside a dam or falls, or a dam beside a hydropower plant. But not all hydropower plants are huge. There are also micro generators that generate electricity through the use of water flow force from rivers, streams and other small bodies of water. But of course, the amount of energy that it produces is also little.
Hydropower is free. It is a very clean source of energy, plus, it is renewable. This type of energy source is strictly pollution – free. It has no polluting byproducts, like the fossil – based energy sources since it doesn’t use fuel to generate electricity. All it needs is gravity and the natural strong flow of water. But like any other things in this world, it has its own share of disadvantages too…
Making a hydropower plant also means creating a dam. And dams are almost always made on rivers. Rivers are redirected and blocked. The negative thing about this is that it could cause disorder on the natural habitat, or environmental damages by changing the environment of the river both downstream and upstream. Population near that river is always relocated and also, there is this risk of a weak dam failing, causing major catastrophe when the huge bulk of water floods everything on its path.
Although that is a possible threat, we still couldn’t ignore the fact that hydropower energy is indeed one of the best alternative sources of energy that we have.
So now that you know this information that we gave you some hydropower energy facts, we assume that you have a vivid picture on hydroelectric energy source. We hope that we have given you something that you could use for a long time. And please always remember: help save the environment in any way that you possibly can.