Hydroelectric Power: An Introduction

This renewable energy is in widespread use. It is an alternative source to fossil fuels. It is called “hydro power” due to, its generation by the force of water.  The greater the force and amount of water, the greater the amount of electricity produced. A power station is needed to generate hydro electricity.

Essential Conditions:

Certain favorable physical conditions are essential for generation of hydro power. These include:

  • Fast-flowing water
  • Perennial and high rate of rainfall
  • Natural store of water (lake)
  • A narrow, deep valley for building a dam and reservoir

How is it Generated?

A dam is built to trap the water. This is built in a valley with a lake. Water is passed through tunnels in the dam, which turns turbines. These turbines then run the generators and hence, electricity is generated. The electricity is further transmitted through pylons and cables.

Advantages:

Since 70% of Earth is water it will not run out. The hydro power is more reliable than wind and solar. Natural water flow allows unfaltering energy production. Once established, it is the cheap source of electricity.

It is environment friendly, with no carbon emissions. Furthermore, it does not contribute to global warming. The water is not wasted but, is recycled. It is supplied to rural areas and industries. This fulfills irrigational purposes; factories use it for cooling and washing, machines.

Disadvantages:

Most problems are related to dam construction. Building large dams are expensive. Under-developed countries get into debt. Finding a suitable location is difficult and time-consuming. Some of the electricity is wasted when transmitted through cables.

Many people are forced to migrate. Wildlife habitats are destroyed, which later decrease tourism. A country’s economy suffers. This is due to lack of foreign exchange earning.  Water is blocked through dams; badly affects the aquatic life.

Benefits to the Economy:

A water rich country is benefited a lot. The power can fulfill its energy demands. Industrial growth can take place. This will further increase employment. More exports and imports of fuels will be less. Increased trade will strengthen the economy.

Moreover, if electricity is more than demand; it can be exported. Greater amounts of fossil fuels are saved.  They can be used for driving vehicles. It will also reduce a country’s pollution rate.

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