Some parts of the world may be as yet unfamiliar will hydropower as an option for producing clean energy. Those that do may still be underplaying the role it could well play in a greener future.
It’s kind of understandable that hydropower may have been overlooked when you consider that hydropower, like any method of production, comes with a number of stern disadvantages: -
- They’re extremely expensive to build to begin with, and the standard to which they must be built is notably high.
-Their high construction costs mean that dams are an investment- in our future, yes. But dams must also operate for years before they become profitable.
-There’s also the environmental cost (go figure!) as they require large areas to be flooded at the expense of part of the natural environment- or even the relocation of any any towns/villages in the valley where the dam is to be constructed.
-Geological damage is also an issue where large dams of concerned- the construction of the Hoover dam, for example, triggered a number of earthquakes.
Hydropower does come with its own plus points though: -
-Once constructed, electricity can be produced at a constant rate.
-Dams have an impressive lifespan, and so contribute to electricity production, potentially, for decades.
-The lake that forms behind the dam can be used for the purpose of irrigation
-The build up of water in the lake can be stored until needed- the sluice gates can be shut when demand is low, thereby saving the water for use when demand is high.
-Electricity that dams produce do not contribute to the pollution of the atmosphere with greenhouse gases.
-Large dams have a tendency to become quite the tourist attraction- look at the Hoover dam again- and can be used for a host of water-sports/leisure activities.
Small hydropower plants, on the other hand, are considered to be more reliable and affordable than their larger counterparts, which is a fair indicator of their rising popularity. They don’t have the same environmental impact- rise in water levels, deforestation, or damage to the local environment.
Faster construction, cheaper costs, and a smaller impact on the environment. It’s really no surprise at all that the use of small hydropower plants is on the rise.