10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectricity

One of the effective methods of producing power is through the use of streaming or falling water. This can be harnessed through the construction of dams across rivers. This process is referred to as hydroelectricity. The principle will utilize the constant flow of water in order to move the turbines, which enable the use of the flowing water’s kinetic energy. As a result, the magnets in the generator will rotate and produce electricity. The water that gets out of the turbine will be returned to the stream found under the dam.

Despite the fact that this technology is not capable of emitting greenhouse gases, there are issues causing it to be on the headlines. Many are concerned that blocking the rivers by building huge dams can have severe social and environmental impact. Some of the issues include blocking of passage for migratory fish, changing of the river’s normal flow, and increasing possibility of earthquakes and displacement of communities within the area.

Many companies are now looking at the potential to utilize water resources to power up their facilities. Consequently, this option has been criticized by local communities as it can disrupt the normal ecosystem. Hence, when considering hydroelectricity, it is important to look at the positive and negative effects that it entails. To begin with, here are a few points to ponder from the list of pros and cons of hydroelectricity as stated below.

List of Pros of Hydroelectricity

1. It is Renewable.
Since this method uses water from the earth to produce electricity, the resource is renewable. Naturally, water that evaporates from the surface of the earth will form clouds and eventually falls back to the earth formed as snow or rain. This means that it will never have to run out of supply and it will not become scarce.

2. Source of Clean Energy.
Basically, hydroelectric power is a clean and green alternative source of energy. In fact, the creation of hydroelectricity will not cause any contamination. Moreover, it will not produce any greenhouse gases or toxins that will pollute the environment.

3. It is Stable and Reliable.
This type of energy source is considered dependable as there are no issues so far as electric power generation is concerned. Many countries with huge hydropower potential utilize hydroelectricity as their main energy source.

4. Requires Low Operating Cost.
The good thing about hydroelectricity when it comes to cost is that it requires low maintenance and operating cost. It also require minimal replacements due to the fewer parts that are present in it. More so, the dams built in these locations have been designed for long-term use. Hence, these facilities will be capable of providing hydroelectric power for a long period of time.

5. Matches Current Demand.
Altering the water streams, creating dams, and getting power can be easier said than done. However, it is not very hard to get going. Once the establishment is in place, it will be easier to deflect the flow of water from one place to another. For instance, if the demand for water is low in a particular area, it will be lowered, redirected and stored until the need arises.

List of Cons of Hydroelectricity

1. Causes Environmental Damage.
Due to the interruptions in the natural flow of water, there are many identified results that can affect the environment. Consequently, it can influence the movement of fish as they move or migrate. This is because fish environments can be influenced with a number of factors, including safe spots, water levels, and water speed. When one of these factors will be altered, there can be a possible interruption in the ecosystem for sure.

2. Cost of Building is Expensive.
Undoubtedly, power plants are very expensive to create, regardless of the type of building. Although hydroelectric power plants are not that complicated to build, it may still require a huge amount of money to begin with. The only advantage is that it will not require specialists to maintain or support personnel that need to be paid large sums of money. So perhaps it will make a good investment to think it can provide an essential source of energy.

3. May Cause Droughts.
A great possibility that happens when building hydroelectric power plants is the occurrence of local droughts. The cost of energy and power are identified depending on the accessibility of water. This can be greatly influenced by a dry spell, causing people not to acquire the power they need.

4. Floods in Lower Areas.
Local populations in low lying locations can become victims of floods due to possible strong water currents that might be released from the dam. More so, it can affect the livelihood of people living in these areas. As a result, more people are then forced to move out to pursue the construction of the dams needed for generating hydroelectricity.

5. Shortage of Water Supply.
Huge dams are built across rivers in countries rich with potential hydroelectric power source. This can cause the interruption of the natural flow of water from one direction to another. When one location does not require too much water supply, it will be redirected to another place so that those looking to build dams in the area can get the much needed water. However, it can cause conflict in the long run when there is scarcity of water supply in that particular area and the water redirected to the dams must be stopped.

Final Thoughts

Building dams in certain locations with potential for hydroelectric power can pose a lot of challenges. Although hydroelectric power plants can be good alternative sources of energy for everybody, there are issues that can hinder their creation. For this reason, it is essential to equate the pros and cons of hydroelectricity when planning to build one. Of course, it can’t be denied that there should always be a gamble when trying to start something new. But perhaps local statistics must be carefully analyzed first before trying to build a revolutionary structure in the community. At least it should comply with safety requirements and should not compromise the environment and the people living within it.

Author Bio
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.