Hydroelectric Energy – this type of power is mainly sourced from dams. The production of electricity from the water movement is clean and it does not produce waste material. However, the ideal type of places to build this is very limited and it is very expensive to build the dams.Hydroelectric energy makes use of water in order to produce power. It is the most reliable of all energy sources that are renewable.
The basic concept of hydroelectric energy can best be describe as using water flow to turn a turbine, and this turning action produces electricity. It is a little more complex than that but it simply can be put as the energy of flowing water converting to mechanical energy, mechanical energy to electrical energy.
Hydroelectric power doesn’t necessarily require a large dam – some hydroelectric power plants just use a small canal to channel the river water through a turbine. Other uses of hydropower include water-cooled chiller and power systems.
The one major factor for using water as an energy source is economics. There is no fuel cost associated with this type of power plant, which is a major advantage over the others. As continued fuel cost rise, hydroelectric operation cost are minimal. The life of a hydroelectric power plant is still to be determined since many plants are 100 years old and still operating. Most modern-day plants are almost totally automated requiring less personal to maintain them. A couple other advantages are no CO2 emissions, because there is no burning of fuels, and they become great recreational areas for boaters and families. Hydropower is a renewable and non-polluting energy source without any greenhouse gas discharge and no toxic waste production.
It has been proven that dams cause both downstream and upstream ecosystem changes caused by water flow. The damage can be extensive depending on the size and flow of the power plant system. The generation process does change downstream river beds and have been known to cause flooding and destruction of land. Extensive studies are ongoing for better design and less ecosystem effect downstream. Flow of water shortage can occur when power demand is high and the river drops to levels were generation must cease. This is one area that is also being studied along with better damn design. Where dams are built in order to utilize hydropower, the cost can be substantial. Also, the unnatural block in the river’s system disturbs natural fish migratory and spawning patterns.