When water is allowed to flow over running turbines there is the generation of electrical energy which is referred to as the hydroelectric energy. Hydroelectric power generation is the first renewable source of energy at a large-scale level in the U.S and it accounted to more than thirty-per cent of the country’s energy requirements way back in the 1940s.Since then the U.S has invested in alternative sources of energy which has made the hydropower to contribute to around 6% of the country’s energy demands.
The hydroelectric energy has its economic and environmental pros and cons and therefore it is crucial that these aspects are understood before investing in the energy source.
Investing in hydroelectric energy has the following advantages. First,it uses water a free and readily available resource and therefore there is virtually no cost to be incurred when getting the resource unlike the use of fossil fuels whose price is high and keep on fluctuating. The second advantage of investing in the hydroelectric energy is because it has a high energy conversion efficiency of approximately 90% of the captured energy.The third attractive thing about hydroelectric power generation is that it has no water,air or land pollution which makes it better as compared to other forms of energy which contributes to global warming and causes other environmental pollution.The fourth advantage of investing in the hydroelectric energy is that the process is renewable because when water which is used to run turbines evaporates,it falls back naturally as rain. The fifth advantage of investing in hydroelectric energy is that it greatly make the quality of the environment to be better through creation of farm irrigation opportunities and huge habitats for aquatic life such as fish.The sixth advantage of investing in hydroelectric power generation is because of its capacity to keep up with demand by enabling the investor to set up more power plants in addition to the existing dams. The seventh advantage of investing in the hydroelectric energy is that it offers a basis for development of recreational facilities such as fishing, water sports and camping for holidaymakers.As compared to other sources of energy such as natural gas or coal,hydroelectric energy is more cost-effective.
The cons of hydropower generation are highlighted below.The first disadvantage is that hydroelectric power generation process can seriously lead to the destruction of natural habitats. Secondly,the process of hydropower generation can emit significant amount of methane and carbon IV oxide when trees and plants in the power plant rots in absence of oxygen. The other disadvantages of investing in hydroelectric energy are the facts that it relies on heavy rainfall to generate maximum power,it poses great danger to the neighbouring people and structures due to its flood riskiness and that the cost of installation is high.