Hydropower is the accumulated energy of flowing water that is converted to electricity or employed to power various machinery. Hydropower energy has existed for hundreds of years, used to power early industrial machinery or turned millwheels, but increasingly in modern day usage it normally refers to electricity generated by hydraulic turbine. These turbines are found in large dams that regulate the flow of water to a river or lake and allow plants and other water bodies to be irrigated. The energy that is stored in the hydraulic turbines is used later to make electricity from an alternate energy source such as wind. There are two ways in which hydropower can be utilized, namely by water diversion and by the use of force to move water.
Hydropower differs from wind powered energy in that hydroelectricity utilizes the force of moving water to move energy. Wind turbines utilize wind to generate electricity by forcing the air past turbines. While this is an efficient method, hydropower uses the natural flow of water to move the energy that is generated, so there is no need for any outside power source. In fact, hydropower energy actually produces less pollutants than the alternative sources because most pollutants come from the generation of electricity rather than the generation of wind power. However, the pollution produced by wind generated electricity is so great that it may be better to have no electricity if possible. This is especially true given that many parts of the world have no access to renewable energy resources.
benefits of hydropower energy
The benefits of hydropower energy are wide-ranging. Hydropower systems can be set up to provide both direct and non-direct flows of energy; this provides the ability to meet a number of different demand needs. For example, the non-direct flow method can be used for raising city water tables by allowing for the use of stored water for emergencies, while the direct flow method can be used for supplying the city with electricity. In addition to being used for increasing water table levels, hydropower energy has many other uses such as flood risk management, drought risk management, and even bioenergy generation, all which contribute to the development of a cleaner environment. In many places around the world, hydropower energy is being used as an economical solution to reduce or eliminate local air pollution due to the increased use of water for both commercial and domestic purposes.
Hydropower has the potential to make a big impact on global warming if its use is effectively managed. Hydropower dams can make the world more environmentally friendly by reducing the amount of greenhouse gases produced. However, the political clout of big oil companies and coalitions of environmental groups have led to resistance to the building of large dams. Large hydroelectric dams have often been criticized for contributing to climate change, particularly due to the excessive amount of electricity produced by some hydropower plants. This has prompted several new initiatives to build smaller dams. For example, in countries like Denmark and Spain there are plans to build smaller dam projects.
The main argument against hydropower projects is that their impact on the environment is not significant enough to justify the positive effects they will bring. However, experts debate this claim because the negative impacts of hydropower on the environment are relatively small compared to the positive effects it will bring. For instance, hydropower generates less pollution than coal and petroleum plants. The water generated by hydropower will help to offset the loss of wetlands and will also prevent the destruction of rivers and aquatic systems. As well, hydropower reduces the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from fuel combustion.
Although hydropower projects are beneficial to both the local economy and the environment, some countries may ban the construction of these dams. Hydropower development is an expansion of traditional industries in developing countries, and the governments of these countries must carefully consider the impact that hydropower projects will have on local communities before permitting the projects to go ahead. If the hydropower projects bring in too much development pressure for the local economy, the government may not be able to afford them or will see them as a threat to their rule. These fears may prompt local communities to block the projects.