Clean, Safe and Affordable
In the most recent issue of "Monthly Energy Review" it was reported that renewable energy sources such as biomass, biofuels, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar power, and wind power provided just over 11% of domestic U.S. energy production during the first half of 2010. As we continue our collective national journey to implement alternative energy sources that are both fiscally responsible and environmentally friendly, one type of alternative energy production is leading the way.
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and has a considerably lower output level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuel powered energy plants. Hydro electric sources account for approximately 88% of electricity from provided from renewable sources.
The major advantages associated with Hydro electric power are primarily two fold. Economically, it’s a major advantage because there is no cost of fuel. Running water occurs naturally so unlike other power sources, the cost of operating a hydroelectric plant is practically immune to fluctuations in the cost of fossil fuels such as natural gas or oil. In the case of hydroelectric power, no imports are needed. The other major advantage of hydroelectric power is its lack of environmental impact. Unlike other fuels, a hydroelectric plant produces no carbon emissions like the aforementioned conventional types of power production such as coal and oil therefore, comparably; it’s an extremely environmentally friendly source of electricity.
Of course hydroelectric power isn’t perfect. It carries with it a number of disadvantages the most crucial of which is Ecosystem damage and loss of land. Hydroelectric plants run in conjunction with dams where the water of particular river stream or estuary is blocked up and then funneled for hydroelectric purposes. There is also a considerable expense to be considered in the relocation of local citizens who reside on our near where a hydroelectric plants and dam are planned to be built.
Often times there can be issues of reliability as a result of flow shortages when rainfall is scarce. Additionally, reservoirs do produce methane emissions due to plant material in flooded areas decaying in an anaerobic environment.All in all, most scine tists and environmentally friendly energy producers agree that hydroelectric power will play a crucial role in shaking our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels.