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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hydropower

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Hydropower

Hydropower is a source of renewable energy that uses water to generate energy. Normally, it uses the potential energy of water at a certain height to generate turbines and with them, electricity.

The mechanism of operation is to take advantage of the potential energy of water at a certain height, it is dropped to convert this energy into kinetic energy. With the kinetic energy of water a turbine that is connected to an electric generator is activated.

Generally, the installations responsible for hydroelectric production are hydroelectric power plants. Usually these facilities are located in marshes or sites where it is easy to accumulate large amounts of water, but can also be in the sea taking advantage of the movement of the tides.

The characteristics of this type of energy have certain advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of hydropower

Due to the water cycle, the availability of water to generate electric power is almost inexhaustible. For this reason, hydropower is a renewable energy source with high energy efficiency.

It is a clean energy; it does not produce toxic emissions, unlike fossil energy during its operation, which does not contribute to the greenhouse effect.

For the operation of hydroelectric power plants, the construction of reservoirs is needed to store water. The construction of reservoirs allows managing the production of electricity according to demand. Storing water in a reservoir is the equivalent of batteries in photovoltaic solar energy.

The construction of reservoirs allows the management of the flow of the river and soften the effect of rapid floods during the rainy season.

Economic advantages

An important advantage of hydropower is the independence of the volatility of fossil fuel prices. It is immune to the rise or fall of oil, coal or natural gas prices. In addition, it is not necessary to extract the fuel or transport it to the power plant, which means significant savings.

Hydroelectric plants also tend to have longer economic lives than power plants that use fuels. Operating costs are low because the plants are automated and need few people for normal operation.

Disadvantages of hydropower

Construction of a hydraulic power plant The main drawback of hydropower is that the construction of a hydroelectric plant involves the construction of large reservoirs. These reservoirs, depending on where they are built, can flood important tracts of land, which could mean the loss of fertile land and properties (entire villages have been flooded) and environmental and ecosystem damage.

The effects of the construction of a hydroelectric plant in the ecosystem are various depending on the characteristics of the place. An important drawback of hydropower is that dams and reservoirs can be destructive to aquatic ecosystems especially in those aquatic species that need to migrate to reproduce.

Regulation of downstream water flow also implies certain disadvantages. This characteristic changes the ecosystems in the river downstream. The water that comes out of the turbines has practically no sediment. This can result in the erosion of river banks or the retreat of deltas at the mouths of certain rivers.

When the turbines open and close repeatedly, the flow of the river can be drastically modified, causing an alteration in the ecosystems.

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Last review: October 31, 2018