Hydroelectric Energy | Advantages & Disadvantages of Hydropower Plant

Renewable energy is the best form of energy as it is created by nature and does not cause any harm to the environment. This type of energy is automatically recreated by nature itself.

There are various types of renewable energy sources. But, in this article, we are going to study Hydroelectric energy.

Water covers 71% of our earth’s surface and it’s vital for day-to-day life and no living thing on earth can survive without water. Water can also act as a clean, renewable reliable source of electricity.

What is a Hydroelectric Energy?

Hydroelectric energy is the energy that we generate by harnessing the power of moving water with the help of a hydraulic or hydropower turbine.

These turbines generate kinetic energy which is converted into electrical energy with the help of a generator and then it is sent to the power grid.

Hydroelectricity is the electricity generated from flowing water. It is known as ‘Venerable energy‘. Because, the water is replenished with the water cycle natural process.

In the olden days, this energy was used for small case purposes like in grain grinding machines.

In today’s world, modern hydroelectric plants use generators and hydropower turbines to produce an enormous amount of energy by using the mechanical energy of moving water as a result of gravity.

These plants are built near dams and run of the river so that the force of the water is high and these electric plants are able to generate enough amount of energy needed for commercial and large scale purposes.

When the water flows down from higher reservoir because of gravitational force caused by the moving water the turbine rotates which is connected to a generator which generates electrical energy which is sent to transformer and then distributed across for the home and industry uses.

Some of the dams have a lower reservoir that is used to store this water and these are also known as ‘Barrier storage‘.

The energy generated from the run of the river depends upon the speed at which the water flows and it is natural so compared to dams lesser amount of energy is generated.

Hydroelectric energy produced from dams depends upon a foundation principle which says- “when the height of the dam is higher less quantity of water is sufficient to produce a good amount of electrical energy as the water-falls from a height it has a huge force to move the turbines easier

But, on the other hand, when the height of the dam is shorter we need a large quantity of water to generate a good amount of energy.

What are the types of hydro power plants?

Various types of hydro power plants based on electricity produced-

  • Large Hydro plants produce greater than 30 MW of electricity.
  • Small Hydro plans produce 100 KW to 30 MW of electricity.
  • Micro Hydro plants produce less than 100 KW of electricity.

What is the biggest dam in the world?

The Hoover Dam in the United States is a large hydro plant that produces 2074 megawatts which is enough to serve 1.3 million people.

Hydropower is the largest shareholder in worldwide electricity production compared to other renewable energy sources.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydropower Plant

What are the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric energy?

Pros of Hydroelectric Energy

  • Hydroelectric energy is a renewable source of energy and it will be available until water keeps flowing.
  • It is pollution-free and environment friendly.
  • Lower operating cost. After the dam is constructed good amount of energy or power can be produced at a constant rate with a lower operating cost.
  • It is capable of supplying a large amount of energy.
  • It is highly flexible as the water flow can be stopped with gates when electricity is not needed and can be used when there is a demand for it.
  • Hydroelectricity is safer than other sources of energy like nuclear and thermal power plants.
  • Storage of water in reservoirs and can be used for various purposes like irrigation.
  • The lifespan of the hydropower plant is more than 100 years which is very high compared to all other types of power plants.
  • Large dams also act as tourist attraction spots for visitors.

Cons of Hydroelectric Energy

  • Hydroelectric energy is a costly and time-consuming process to build hydroelectric plants and dams.
  • It also costs a lot of deforestation because, a large area of forest area is cleared for building dams.
  • Hydroelectricity is dependent on the availability of water and flow.
  • There are very limited and rare places that are suitable for constructing hydroelectric power plants.
  • Chances of the flood.
  • People living in villages and tribal people lose their land.
  • Dams block the flow or progress of the river and may act as a conflict between two states or countries.

Applications of Hydroelectric Energy

This eco-friendly source of energy is used to power Agricultural equipment, Wind-mill farms, industrial machines, and much more uses.

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