Hydroelectricity is the world’s most used renewable energy.
It is also the oldest form of electricity production whose technology has developed from its earliest known forms using timber and stone constructions to gather water from rainfall and runoff to larger dams and flowing water. Hydroelectric power is classified as a source of renewable energy because the water cycle is ever continuous. Hydroelectric power only needs moving water’s Kinetic energy to rotate the turbines and the water exits on the other side of the dam and returns back to the river.
Below are some of the benefits of hydroelectric power compared to other methods of energy production.
Renewable Source of Energy
Unlike other sources of energy, hydropower is renewable. The reason why this energy source is considered renewable is the fact that it uses earth’s naturally occurring water to provide power. River water is always flowing because of the continual water cycle. The sun’s radiation evaporates the water from the ocean, rivers and lakes, forms clouds and then falls back to earth as rain and snow. The larger rivers and lakes are unlikely to disappear within the next few thousand years, meaning the current energy potential cannot be used up.
Hydroelectric energy is one of the world’s cleanest and greenest energies. The energy production process through hydropower does not produce any toxic emissions or greenhouse gases that pollute the environment. You can only consider the contamination during construction, and this amount is very small compared to some of the other forms of energy production like using fossil fuels.
Water used to generate electricity in hydroelectric power is always flowing, and the only challenge that hydropower can encounter are low water levels — which are seasonal. The dependence on water flow means it is predictable, unlike other sources of electricity such as solar and wind. Solar energy has to depend on the availability of sunlight while wind energy must rely on the wind waves to turn the turbines. The reliability of hydropower makes it a good power support source when other sources of energy are not sufficient, for example, when there is no wind and the sun is not shining.
Unlike fossil fuels that have to be imported from foreign markets, water is a naturally occurring resource within a country. Using hydroelectricity gives a country’s electricity production the protection from the risk of fluctuations in international markets. Relying on diesel generators for energy production can turn costly when the cost of oil in the global market goes up.
Another advantage of hydroelectric power is that it can go from zero power to a maximum output within a short time. The electricity produced from the hydro plants goes directly to the grid enabling the use of hydropower as a back-up in case of significant power disruptions and outages.