Hydropower is also known as aqua power or water power that allows fast running or flowing water to generate electricity. The fast running water, with the help of kinetic energy, produces electricity to power machines. Hydropower is one of the crucial sustainable sources of energy all around the world.
Kinetic energy is the type of energy that states the energy of an object that it possesses due to the motion of that particular object. Hydropower energy releases an enormous amount of energy through its flowing water. The technique was in use from history. Most of the hydropower energy comes from the dammed water driving a water turbine and generator for electricity.
Another method of generation hydropower energy is through the penstock that delivers water from the reservoir to the turbine. China is one of the world’s largest countries that leads the world in hydroelectricity usage.
Let’s discuss some advantages and disadvantages of it.
Advantages of Hydropower
1. Renewable Source
Since we all know water is an endless cycle, it recharges the system constantly. When the free-flowing water gets captured and utilized to generate electricity, then it is known as hydropower. Mostly, hydropower projects that are less than 25 MW are known as renewable energy.
While generating electricity, hydropower doesn’t reduce the quantity of electricity. Hence, it has got categorized as a renewable source. Whether the hydropower project is large or small in size or stored or free-flowing, all these fit the renewable source of the energy concept.
2. It Contributes Storage of Drinking Water
Hydropower plants collect rainwater in big reservoirs. The stored water can get used for irrigation and even for consumption purposes. The storage of water can have various benefits in our everyday lives. They protect water tables against depletion, reduce vulnerability towards flood and droughts for farmers as well.
Effective storing of water can also lead to reducing cases of wildfires. Also, the abundance of water reservoirs can create stability in the water supply to the local areas. Compared to another source of energy, river water doesn’t have market fluctuations as well.
3. Maximum Output Immediately
Some hydropower can generate maximum output from zero levels. It generates power to grind immediately and provides necessary backup power during electricity disruptions. It is also known as a sustainable fuel source with several benefits of flood control, irrigation, and an abundance of water supply.
4. Low Emissions
The action or process of generating electricity from hydropower is emission-free as it doesn’t emit carbon dioxide. Also, it helps to reduce the emission of greenhouse gas and drives global climate change. After the plant gets built, it doesn’t release pollution to the atmosphere like other non-renewable energy counterparts. Since no pollution gets created that causes sickness, there is zero chance of oil spills or gas pipes breaking because the only fuel used to support hydropower plants is water.
Hydropower plants are adjustable and flexible to operate. You can adjust the flow of water for the power plant. It allows the plant to generate more energy when necessary and reduce the capacity when there is no need. It is also known as a flexible source of energy. Also, hydropower is the domestic energy source that allows every state or local community to produce electricity without relying on other fuel sources.
6. Superior Energy Performance
The energy losses from hydropower during the energy generation process are very few. While comparing to the transformation of fossil fuels, oil, natural gas, and coal, it usually leads to substantial energy loss in the form of heat energy. When coal gets burned for generating power, almost two-thirds of its energy gets wasted. On the other hand, water is a pure and clean source without affecting the environment. Few drops of water can help to push against the blades of the turbine.
7. Quebec is a Wealthy City because of Hydropower
Quebec, a city in Canada is one of the wealthy cities related to water resources. There are more than 1 million lakes and streams in Quebec city. It has numerous opportunities for hydropower projects. Almost, 40% of the electricity of Canada gets supplied from Quebec city. They have natural lakes and water reservoirs covering about 20% of their territory.
Disadvantages of Hydropower
1. It Has Environmental Impacts
Even though hydropower doesn’t pollute the environment and has a great side at its pros, there are still some cons. Hydropower impacts the environment. It may disturb the natural habitat of the locals, animals around, and the land.
Reservoirs can cover most local areas and people’s homes, agricultural land, and archaeological sites. Also, a reduction in the downstream water flow can cause loss of habitat of people living around. Usually, hydropower plants cause upstream flooding that is likely to destroy the wildlife areas, scenic, and prime farming lands. It can create a loss of fish habitat and cause entrapment of fish.
2. High Cost
A hydropower plant can be a high price to build. Even the low-level hydropower plant costs high. The hydroelectric power plant is costly because of the logistical challenges like topography, materials used and laying foundations underwater. However, after the construction of the plant, it requires low maintenance. Also, it needs to operate for a long time to recover the initial investment outlay.
3. May Cause Conflicts
Countries with abundant sources of water flowing rivers construct dams and reservoirs to harness the water. Reserved water gets used to generate electricity. The act is praiseworthy but, it can also create interruptions to the flowing water environment. If water is not necessary to a specific area, the hydropower plant channels the flowing water to other regions. But, if the situation gets reversed, there might be conflict among the locals.
4. Risk of Flood
Communities that are present downstream are always prone to flood. There is a high chance of flooding from reservoirs. The flood possesses of high current that has the potential to damage the whole surrounding. Hence, the livelihood of people around the particular area gets destroyed.
Hence, these are some advantages and disadvantages of hydropower that might get help to you.
References(Last Updated On: May 30, 2021)