Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy
Considering the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric energy is very important for countries, institutions and individuals who are interested in conserving energy. Hydroelectric energy or power is the electricity that is produced by hydropower. It is a renewable energy that is found in the flowing water. It is simply the electricity that is produced using hydropower and most people consider it reliable. Globally, hydroelectric energy is the most used type of renewable energy. Humans have used this energy for centuries. It is produced by passing water over mechanical turbines. Pressure from the water turns the turbines producing mechanical energy which is converted to electricity.
The advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric energy
Hydroelectric energy is a renewable energy. It cannot get used up. Nevertheless, there is a limitation of the suitable reservoirs where plants for producing this power can be established. There is also a limitation in the number of places where projects of producing this energy can be profitable.
Hydroelectric energy’s production does not pollute the environment. This means that hydroelectric energy is a green energy. Pollution occurs only when constructing power plants.
The major reason why hydroelectric energy is the most used form of energy is due to its reliability. Hydroelectric energy has little fluctuations when it comes to the amount of electric power that the plants produce. In most countries where there are large hydropower resources, hydroelectricity is used as the base load source of energy. Provided that there is water supply, hydroelectric energy can always be generated.
It is easy to adjust the flow of water thereby regulating electricity output. There are times when there is low power consumption. At such times, water flow can be reduced to conserve magazine levels for the times when there will be high power consumption.
Hydroelectric energy is safer than nuclear energy and fossil fuel. It does not involve fuel apart from water. Even that water is not used completely because it returns to the source. This makes hydroelectric energy a clean energy that can be produced indefinitely as long as there is water supply.
- Environmental effects
The process of constructing power lines, roads, dams and changing water flow have environmental consequences. Fish are affected by the constructed plants. Generally, the construction of dams interferes with the natural habitats of fish and other marine animals. This is because these habitats are shaped by the physical factors like water velocity, shelter opportunities, food access and water level among others.
Hydroelectric power plants are costly to build. The cost of constructing these power plants depends on the precipitation. For instance, changes in the stream regimes might be necessary. Money is required to make these changes. Additionally, the constructed plants must be of high standards. The high initial cost means that to be profitable, the plants have to be operated for quite some time.
Energy prices and electricity generations are related to the amount of the available water. This can greatly be affected by droughts.
Why the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric energy are worth considering?
Hydropower is a major electricity source globally. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of this energy is important because historically, its production cost has remained the same for many years. Due to its advantages, hydroelectric energy is the major electricity source for most countries. It is only after considering its advantages and disadvantages that countries can determine whether it is the most appropriate energy for them or they should substitute it with other forms of energies such as wind and biomass energies.
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