One of the oldest and cheapest methods of producing energy, hydro power is a renewable source of energy that is produced by the movement of water. The process of generating hydroelectricity includes connecting a turbine with an electric generator and spinning it with the excessive flow of water. This technology offers many advantages. But does this have any drawbacks too? Let us find out!
Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy
Advantages of Hydroelectric Power
An Emission Free Production
The biggest appealing factor of hydroelectricity is that creating this does not emit any harmful substance into the environment. During production, fuel is not used by hydroelectric dams and any toxins or greenhouse gases are not emitted into the atmosphere. This makes hydroelectric power a clean energy plan for various nations.
A Cost-Effective Energy
Hydropower is a cost-competitive source of energy. If upfront building costs are neglected as they are the one time investment, hydroelectric energy is certainly a cost-effective resource of power.
After getting planted once, hydropower plants need minimal outlay on maintenance. Also, these plants do not need frequent replacements. Dams that are set up once can produce hydroelectric energy for an average of 60-100 years.
An Adjustable Process
The water flow can be adjusted by hydro plants and they can produce more hydropower whenever they need to or can minimize the production when it is not required. This feature is not available in other renewable energy sources.
Various nations are utilizing hydropower to bring this pocket friendly energy to countryside areas. In this way, employment opportunities are created for the local people.
A Reliable Source
Currently, hydro Energy is the most reliable power available in the world due to the fact that it is a renewable source of energy. To exemplify, the wind can stop blowing and the sun also goes down when it has to, depriving us from their powers. However, in case of water that is available 24/7 for us and does not let us down.
Disadvantages of hydroelectric energy
Plant Locations are limited
Although hydropower is a renewable energy, the list of areas that are appropriate for the constructions of the plants is small. And, the existing places where plants are constructed are not in the vicinity of the major cities.
Higher Initial Costs
Hydro plants need a dam to halt the flow of water that requires a huge initial cost. As this is a onetime investment, it does even out over in the long run.
Risk of Failures
In the process of creating hydropower, a large volume of water is needed to be held back. Although the people who are indulged in the procedure are experts, a small negligence can create a catastrophe. Not only can these fiascos affect the supply of power but these can also pose a threat to flora and fauna and various other life forms.
Reliance on local hydrology
This is a fact that hydropower is a completely reliable energy source due to the availability of the water. But we should not forget that it is eventually controlled by precipitation and weather trends. The amount of water resource available for carrying out hydropower production can vary and consequently, the production of electricity by a hydroelectric facility can also change.
Inconveniences to the Fishes
To produce this energy, a dam is needed on a river, and when a water body is dammed and the flow of water is blocked, the fish cannot swim upstream and return back to their breeding ground. This also puts an adverse impact on the animals that feed on fish.
The emission of Carbon and methane
There is no denying the fact that hydropower plants are way more environment friendly than any other sources of energy production. No greenhouse gases are emitted from the electricity produced by hydropower plants. However, in the process of building a reservoir, Plants that are located at the bottom of a hydro plant start rotting and decomposing in an anaerobic atmosphere. Due to this, a large quantity of carbon and methane is released from the dead plants. This directly impacts on the pollution levels of the particular area.
The Bottom Line
Hydro energy is still in its growth process and it is irrefutable that it has both advantages and disadvantages.
No power source is devoid of flaws, and so is the case with hydropower. The future holds something really great as to cope with climate change, hydropower will be a significant part of the world’s energy.