This means that the upfront cost of building a hydropower plant can be millions of dollars. It is considered as renewable because it uses the earth’s water to produce electricity. Hydropower provides great potential for renewable energy but it is not without drawbacks. Hydroelectric energy is renewable. (And 6 Clever Ways to Reuse Old Keys), Can You Recycle Shampoo Bottles? Hydroelectric power plants are not a special case to this. People living along low lying areas are often in the danger of floods as the areas might get swept away when water is released in full force from the dam. On the other hand, there are just a few suitable repositories where hydroelectric power plants could be built and fewer places where such undertakings are beneficial. 1. The main contamination happens when the power plants are being built. Compared to the falling prices of solar installations, for example, hydropower is a more challenging renewable project to finance. The most popular form of hydropower, also known as hydroelectric power, is a large dam that holds water in a reservoir, like the picture below. We make no representation as to the accuracy of the information entered by third parties. Still, the hydroelectric plant will have to operate for a long time to recoup the money injected into the construction. But with hydropower, water is plentiful and does not emit CO2 when powering the plant. As for biofuels, hydropower is superior because once the plant is built and running, the environmental impacts are less. Sitemap Hydroelectric power is among these energy technologies. To produce power, dams are constructed on rivers. Ana frequently volunteers for environmental causes ranging from oyster reef restoration in NJ to expanding bike sharing in Naples, Italy. Although hydropower plants are expensive to build, they provide cheap power once in operation. This is why after construction and fully operational, the dam has to be accorded maximum security. All rights reserved. This kind of decomposition without oxygen involvement gives off vast amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, which leads to an increase in pollution levels. In fact, in the 20th century, hydroelectric power was so large that it was called white coal for its power and plenty. The technology has since grown by leaps and bounds, and the water is mostly collected from falling and flowing rivers. It is also a delicate balancing act to keeping enough river water wild (meaning without dams), versus damming up many rivers for power. Hydroelectric power plants have the capacity to store vast quantities of water for irrigation when rainfall disappears and for consumption when there is a shortage. The hydroelectric plants emit fewer greenhouse gasses than fossil based power sources, which helps mitigate climate change, acid rains, and smog. Hydropower plants create energy by using the force of water to turn turbines. The many key considerations are that the dam should not affect the people and environment around. Hydroelectricity, which is created by hydropower, is a popular form of renewable energy that uses the flow of water to generate electricity. With that reason in mind, it’s prudent to weigh the pros and cons of this form of energy when looking to construct one. Hydroelectric energy is renewable. Additionally, the output of electricity can be adjusted. Apart from this, these people are forcibly moved out so that construction of these dams can continue. Hydroelectric power plants may influence fish and the way that they move and migrate, but this is a complicated process to research and it is hard to make a determination based on that one factor. Read more: Examples of renewable resources. The lake that forms behind the dam can be used for recreational opportunities, offering activities such as fishing, boating and swimming. Hydroelectric power is a cost-competitive source of energy even though the upfront building costs can be high. Also, many rivers travel through multiple counties and if they are dammed, upstream countries could take more water than is fair and leave less water for countries downriver. However, it is challenging to build hydropower plants because you need to completely dam up a river. The water then exits the turbine and is returned to the stream below the dam. When a particular location doesn’t require a lot of water, it is channeled to another location to cater for those wanting to build dams in those locations. We all know that hydroelectricity is both renewable and green, but what are the other advantages this technology offers? A classic example of geological damage is the construction of the Hoover Dam in the United States that caused earthquakes and led to the depression of the earth’ surface in the area. This means development models in the present day that addresses individuals’ needs without affecting the capability of coming generations for tackling their own needs. (And Ways to Dispose of), Are Keys Recyclable? (And What to Do With Old Junk Mail), Can You Recycle Lighters? Communities living downstream are vulnerable to flooding should strong water currents be released from the dam. The opposite is true if more energy is needed - more water can flow into the plant for electricity production. Advantages of Hydroelectric Energy 1. Renewable Energy Source. Privacy Policy With hydropower, the energy source that generates power is water. Hydroelectric power also improves the air quality we breathe because they don’t emit air pollutants. The channeled water fell on a turbine blade spinning it and the connected shaft. Hydroelectricity is the most used and most beneficial form of energy currently. It is challenging to find a suitable spot that has a large year-round water supply, with the right amount of water and is close enough to existing power lines. Countries that harbor rich sources of hydroelectric power typically build dams across the river to harness the water. The building of dams could cut off their paths leading to a lack of reproduction or fish deaths. Construction of dams in specific areas with the ability to generate vast amounts of power can present a myriad of challenges. Fossil fuel-based energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas are deeply affected by market volatility, which drives up or considerably lower their prices. Some fish species and other creatures normally migrate when there is food shortage or when the breeding season begins. 4. Hydropower plants are powered by water, which spins turbines to generate electricity. Generally, the pros outweigh the cons for hydropower because unlike solar or wind, water can be relied on 24/7. Also, the natural flow of the river will be affected. Register We disclaim any liability for any damages or loss arising from your use thereof. Why? Both of these factors make hydropower renewable, because water is naturally replenishing and because it is not a source of greenhouse gas emissions. (And Ways to Reuse Old Lighters), How Hydropower Plants Work and Types of Hydropower Plants, Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Gas Energy, Can You Recycle a Mattress? Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. The main advantages of hydroelectric power are that it is 100% renewable, it can generate electricity at any time day or night, and its operation is generally safe. She has 5 years of marketing experience blended with 2 years of experience in climate communications and holds a master of arts degree in climate and society from Columbia University.