Hydropower uses the natural force of water to produce electricity and has been in use for centuries now. Trail down this write-up to know all about the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower!

Hydropower Pros And Cons

If you thought that water is just used for drinking or other recreational purposes, think again! It might sound surprising but it’s true that the Greeks used water wheels to grind wheat into flour almost about 2000 years ago. In the early 1800s, American and European factories used water wheel to power machines. The bulky water wheels have now been replaced by sophisticated hydroelectric plants, which use modern turbine generators to produce electricity just like thermal (coal, oil, nuclear) power plants do except that they do not produce heat to spin the turbines. Hydropower is energy that comes from the force of moving water. The most common type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir. The stored water is then made to fall from a height on turbines to produce electricity. Though there are many uses of hydroelectric power, there are several disadvantages too. Listed below are some of the common pros and cons of hydropower. Read on to explore the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower in detail.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hydropower
  • Hydropower is cost-effective and environment friendly.
  • The dams for hydropower, apart from offering drinking water, tot up as wildlife habitats as well as leisure spots for people.
  • Although their power is limited, hydroelectric dams produce 19% of the world’s power. This is quite a large contribution in a world that is struggling to lessen its reliance on non-sustainable fuels.
  • Hydropower is safe as compared to other powers. Hydropower can also be shut down quickly with no complications, which means any crisis can be dealt more swiftly.
  • This form of renewable energy is completely pure and safe since there is no greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide involved during the time of generating hydropower energy.
  • Hydropower dams also have great irrigation effects as they can convert a surrounding area into a fertile space.
  • Hydroelectric dams are very expensive to build and thus cost high.
  • Fishes are killed whenever the plant’s turbines run. Also, the unnatural block in the river’s system disturbs fish migratory and spawning patterns.
  • Hydroelectric dams don’t produce a lot of power compared to other electricity-generating systems. When a dam breaks down, it causes huge amounts of damage including floods.  
  • Hydropower involves the building of dams. These dams, besides disrupting the local ecosystem, require a lot of space and prevent the natural flow of silt down rivers and onto beaches and estuaries.
  • The turbines used in the hydroelectric equipment can have devastating effects on the local fish population. The turbine, besides consuming a large amount of water, kills the fish too, which in turn may endanger certain species. Thus, a dam affects the fish and wildlife in the area, as well as the landscape.
  • Hydropower dams affect the local population as well. If negative event like flooding take place, people living there don’t have other option but to move. This could mean that their businesses and farms will be lost. In certain countries, people are forced to vacate the premises so that hydropower dams can be built.
  • Dams are usually built on undeveloped land that is wooded. It is often necessary to clear the woods, which increases greenhouse gas emissions in the area significantly. The plants and trees that previously acted as carbon sinks and captured the harmful carbon are no longer there, which adds to environmental damage.
Every positive has a negative side too and hydropower too falls into that category. All said and done, hydropower, with all its advantages and disadvantages, is possibly one of the most viable sources of energy . 

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