Pros and Cons of Hydropower

Jun 30

Hydropower is an ancient method as a source of energy, however, due to the location limitations, initial cost and other varying factors, it may only offer positive benefits in certain areas. In depth examination of the benefits and down sides of hydropower and the potential as an alternative energy.

  • The pros and cons of hydropower should be evaluated on a case by case basis

  • When it comes to the cons of hydropower, these will be different depending on the specific location chosen

  • The cons of hydropower have caused many experts to be against this alternative energy source

Hydropower can be an alternative source of energy, but it is important to realize that there are pros and cons of hydropower and this alternative energy source may not be as ideal as some believe. This type of power is the energy that can be derived from moving water. These sources can include rivers, dams, and waterfalls. The energy is captured from the water and used to generate electricity, or to meet other energy needs. This alternative energy source has advantages and disadvantages, and looking at both sides of the issue will show the positives and negatives. Most sources of hydropower come from dams, like the Hoover Dam. This is the most effective way to harness the energy from moving water, especially if there are no fast moving waters nearby. Just how friendly is this source of energy to the environment, and the natural habitat that surrounds the dam? Large dams can cause a number of environmental problems and habitat concerns, because it is necessary to flood massive amounts of land for the dam to be successful, changing the habitat and landscape of the area. This can cause animals and other wildlife to migrate somewhere else, because the land is flooded.

Another one of the cons of hydropower is the turbines and what this equipment can do to the local fish population. When the water is pushed through the turbines, large numbers of fish may be pushed along as well. The turbine kills the fish, and this can decrease the number and availability of species for habitation and sports fishing. This has led many wildlife and fishing enthusiasts to complain. A dam can completely change the landscape, and the types of fish and wildlife in the area, altering it significantly. Dams take up large areas of land, and it is normally wooded or undeveloped land that is used. When the land is cleared to make way for the reservoir and dam, the level of greenhouse gases in the area may go up in two different ways. Trees and plants act as carbon sinks, and help to sequester carbon from the air and atmosphere. When the trees and plants are cleared out and destroyed, greenhouse gases are not captured and held. If the plants are not removed before the area is flooded, the decaying of the vegetation will contribute to methane gas being released into the air. Hydropower has some cons, making this alternative source of energy one that should be carefully considered.

The pros and cons of hydropower can help determine whether this alternative energy source is ideal. Hydropower does not produce carbon dioxide or many other greenhouse gas emissions that some power sources do, and there is no pollution released into the air and surrounding environment. This type of power is considered very clean, and the flooding does have positive aspects, not just negative ones. The flooded areas can become home for new species of fish and wildlife that are suited to the local conditions. The irrigation effect that hydropower dams have can be amazing, turning the surrounding area into lush and fertile ground. All of the aspects must be looked at for each location, to determine whether this alternative source of power generation will help or harm the individual area. Some experts and environmentalists believe that in some areas small dams and hydropower plants may be a safe and environmentally friendly option. The large power plants are a concern no matter where they are situated though, because of the substantial negative impacts these can have. The pros and cons of hydropower need to be weighed in each case, to evaluate whether placing a facility and reservoir in the region would be a good idea or harm the location.

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