Hydroelectricity is a cheap, renewable source of energy which harnesses the power of water. Water on higher elevation is stored in dams and led into lower elevations by long pipes to turbines which rotate with the force exerted by the concentrated flow of water. The turbines are connected to generators that produce energy which are then distributed to power grids. With the prevalent mood focused on clean, renewable energy to lessen global warming, hydroelectricity is a sensible solutions to our world’s ever growing needs with the following advantages.
1. Hydroelectricity is Clean
With no sulphur dioxide emission and only minimal emissions of methane and carbon dioxide, hydroelectricity is one of the cleanest sources of power currently available. Aside from zero sulphur dioxide emission, a hydroelectric power plant does not produce common pollutants such as dust and nitrogen oxide. Also, a hydroelectric plant does not produce radioactive wastes like nuclear power plants which mean cleaner air and lesser environmental impact compared to fossil fuel energy resources.
2. Hydroelectricity is Cheap
The power generated by a hydroelectric plant comes from water and not on fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas which are expensive. Without the dependence of hydroelectric plants on fossil fuels which vary in price depending on trade outcomes and supply, electricity charges from hydroelectric plants are more stable. It also requires fewer people to maintain a hydroelectric plant compared to coal and nuclear power plants which means cheaper maintenance & manpower costs.
3. Hydroelectric Stations Last Longer
With a life-span of 50 to 100 years, hydroelectric power stations can last longer compared to other types of power plant such as a nuclear power plant with a lifespan of only 30 to 40 years.
4. Hydroelectric Dams are Multi-purpose
Aside from providing clean energy, a hydroelectric dam is a sight to view making it appealing to local and foreign tourists. The calm, stored waters on hydroelectric dams are perfect for water sports and other water-based leisure activities which can generate collateral local revenue. Another advantage of using hydroelectricity is that it stores water through its dam reservoir which can be used during times of drought for drinking water storage and irrigation purposes.
5. Hydroelectric Energy is Renewable Energy
Water is the most abundant resource on earth covering 70% of its surface. Unlike fossil fuels which are burnt to produce power, there is no need to change the chemical composition of water for a hydroelectric power plant to generate energy. Instead, it only uses the potential energy in water making it an inexhaustible source of power compared to coal, oil and natural gas.
There are also other types of renewable energy other than hydropower such as wind and solar energy which produce clean and endless supply of energy. Hydroelectric power plants is found anywhere in the world serving not only as humankind’s response to the threat of global warming but also as man’s ingenuity to face the global energy challenge.