ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF HYDRO POWER
Hydropower is an energy source that harnesses the kinetic energy of water to spin turbines that generate electricity. It is a renewable resource that doesn’t pollute the environment and has no combustible fuel, making it a cleaner alternative to other forms of power.
There are three main types of hydropower plants: storage systems, run-of-the-river systems, and pumped-storage facilities.
Hydropower projects that have dams and reservoirs can control the timing and flow of water to the turbines. This allows the project to produce power when it is most needed and most valuable to the grid.
It also helps mitigate climate change, since water can be stored for a long period. If drought occurs downstream of a reservoir, it can affect how much power the plant can generate.
The disadvantages of using hydropower are that it can hurt aquatic ecosystems and local people. The process of flooding land to build a reservoir can devastate the forest, wildlife habitat, and agricultural lands.
A panoramic shot of industrial buildings on the shore of the lake reflected in the water
There are a variety of ways to protect aquatic habitats and animals from the damage caused by dams. For example, fish ladders and in-take screens help prevent fish from becoming tangled in turbine blades.
Besides damaging habitats and wildlife, dams also release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which can cause pollution. They can also harm rivers by preventing them from naturally flowing.
Dams can also cause a shortage of water, which could lead to drought conditions downstream. If a country upstream doesn’t have enough water, it may not be able to use it for drinking, farming, or other needs.
This is especially problematic when a dam is located along a river that allows water passage into another country. Depending on how the two countries interact with each other, a drought for the country upstream could make it difficult to import goods or food.
In addition, there are some other hazards related to hydropower, including construction accidents and dam failure. The most famous dam disaster was the Banqiao Reservoir Dam in China, which collapsed during a typhoon and killed 171,000 people.
The disadvantages of using hydropower include the destruction of natural habitats and the displacement of people. If people are forced to relocate, they lose their livelihoods and sometimes their homes as well.
If a reservoir is built at high elevations, there is a risk that nearby towns will be damaged or destroyed. This can be a serious problem in areas where many people are living on the banks of rivers and lakes.
As the world starts to move away from fossil fuels and other combustible fuels, the demand for hydropower will increase, as will the number of potential sites for hydroelectric plants. In fact, according to the International Energy Agency, by 2030, there will be a need for about one-fourth of all new power capacity worldwide.
ALTHOUGH THERE ARE A FEW DRAWBACKS TO USING HYDROPOWER, IT IS AN IMPORTANT ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL SOURCES OF POWER. ITS ADVANTAGES OUTWEIGH ITS DISADVANTAGES, AND IT IS LIKELY TO CONTINUE TO BE A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR TO GLOBAL ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION IN THE YEARS TO COME.