Hydroelectric power


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Hydroelectric power

Hydroelectric power is the most commonly used type of energy around the globe. The main reason why it is widely used is that it is cheaper and readily available. It can be used to run a variety of electric machines due to its high voltage. Hydropower generates electricity and has multiple advantages over the other power producing methods.


One of the main advantages of hydroelectricity is that it is a renewable source of energy as it uses the power generated by running water, and thus does not pollute the environment. The use of water implies that the quantity of electricity does not reduce, making the production of electricity a continuous process (Bildirici & Gökmenoğlu, 2017). The use of hydroelectricity ensures a steady flow of energy and therefore provides stability in prices. River water is a domestic resource that flows daily, unlike natural gas or fuel, the resource cannot be depleted and is available naturally, and there is no price needed to tap the water.

Hydroelectricity helps in fighting climatic changes (Yüksel, 2010). The life cycles of the hydropower produce minimal greenhouse gases, and this makes it a green source of power that has a minimal environmental impact. Besides fighting climatic change, hydroelectricity improves the air, making it better for inhalation. The hydroelectric power plants do not release pollutants into the air, and the process of generating electricity has by-products that are not toxic.


Hydroelectricity despite having numerous advantages has disadvantages as well. Hydropower does not pollute the environment, but this does not imply that it does not have negative environmental impacts. The hydropower facilities affect the environment in that it destroys the original habitats, displaces people from their homes and affect land use (Abbasi & Abbasi, 2000). The reservoirs to which the dams are created covers the homes and habitats initially inhabited by people and animals leading to their displacement.

The construction of the reservoirs is accompanied by the derailing of the rivers to facilitate its construction. The derailing of the rivers the water quality of the streams. Besides, the operation of the hydroelectric power plant tends to alter the temperature of the water and the flow of the river (Fantin-Cruz et al. 2016). The alteration of water may have adverse effects on the native plants as well as the animals both in land and river. Apart from altering the quality of water, hydroelectric facilities such as the reservoirs destroy the original wildlife habitat as the power plants can result to a loss, or a further modification of the aquatic habitats such as that of fish and this can lead to the restriction as well as the entrapment of fish in their passages.

Effectiveness during natural disasters such as floods

Hydroelectricity requires more water to turn the turbines so that enough energy is produced. Low amount of water provides low energy to turn on the turbines, and this means that low power will be produced. However, in the event of floods, hydropower becomes more efficient in that the reservoirs will have enough water that is capable of generating enough strength to turn the turbines. The amount of electricity produced during floods will be higher and more consistent. Therefore, flooding favors the production of electricity as a renewable source.

However, in the time of flooding, numerous activities happen in the environment that may pose a threat to the production of electricity such as soil erosion and falling of trees that may damage the electric poles and cables. It takes stronger floods to disrupt the transmission of electricity to the points of use. Floods accompanied by massive winds are more dangerous and requires the closure of the power gauges to reduce the impact of electric shocks. Floods alone cannot alter the production of electricity as only the strength of propelling the turbines has been added. Hydropower, therefore, is more resilient compared to other sources of renewable energy. In the event of energy disruption, the potential cost is minimal as it requires the replacement of the damaged poles and cables.


Abbasi, S. A., & Abbasi, N. (2000). The likely adverse environmental impacts of renewable energy sources. Applied Energy, 65(1-4), 121-144.

Bildirici, M. E., & Gökmenoğlu, S. M. (2017). Environmental pollution, hydropower energy consumption and economic growth: evidence from G7 countries. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 75, 68-85.

Fantin-Cruz, I., Pedrollo, O., Girard, P., Zeilhofer, P., & Hamilton, S. K. (2016). Changes in river water quality caused by a diversion hydropower dam bordering the Pantanal floodplain. Hydrobiologia, 768(1), 223-238.

Yüksel, I. (2010). Hydropower for sustainable water and energy development. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 14(1), 462-469.