Monday, August 20, 2007

What's So Special About Hydropower and Hydroelectricity?

What is hydroelectricity? Hydroelectricity is electricity produced by hydropower. Hydropower is a very broad term; it can refer to using water for irrigation, milling, and even textiles. That is why hydroelectricity is the proper term when referring to the renewable energy resource, which we are.

Hydroelectricity is the world’s leading source of renewable energy, supplying 19% of the world’s electricity, and accounting for 63% of the total renewable energy electricity generated. Large hydroelectric and small hydroelectric are the common names for the two types of hydroelectric installations. As you probably could have guessed, small hydro is “the application of hydroelectric power on a commercial scale serving a small community or medium sized industry.” Meanwhile, large hydro is used on a large scale.

So what’s so special about hydroelectricity? The fact that it’s already being used. As mentioned previously, hydroelectricity provides 19% of the world’s energy. Commercial industry can already expand off of hydro; it’s low tech, it’s been in use for over a hundred years, and it works inexpensively.

Does hydroelectricity have any harmful side effects? Let’s see what Wikipedia says:

Hydroelectric projects can be disruptive to surrounding aquatic ecosystems. For instance, studies have shown that dams along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America have reduced salmon populations by preventing access to spawning grounds upstream, even though most dams in salmon habitat have fish ladders installed.
As important as salmon is, this small disadvantage should not be a reason to not use hydro.
If hydroelectricity is expanded upon and used with other technologies, hydroelectricity could become even greater than it already is.

More Alternative Energy Series:

Why Corn Ethanol is Bad
The Temporary Solution: Coal
Nuclear Power: Energy of the Future or As Bad As Fossil Fuels
5 Reasons Solar Power Works
The Wind Power and Solar Power Combination
Another Look at Nuclear Power - Nuclear Waste
What's So Special About Hydropower and Hydroelectricity?
Top 5 Advantages of Geothermal Power

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am from Tully NTH Qld Australia. For some years we have had a prodject called the Tull Millstrem stoped since 1996. This Hydro electic sceam would generate anoth power for more than half of the state of Qld in Australia. About the size of England. Our governments both state and federal have not mentioned it at all. Sure the resulted flooding will flood some of world heritage listed forest. But the forest will be lost if we don't reduce our carbon foot print. The Australian government both State and Federal gain allot of royalties from coal in this country.
I would like to see the depate reopened on the Tull Mill Stream Prodject.

Steve Hunt
stevehunts@bigpond.com

What are the effects of global warming? said...

Nice coverage. I was just in need for that kind of information on hydroelectricity for a papaer my nephew is working on for school. Maybe we could rely on the some of the subject youv'e summed up pretty good.