What Is Hydroelectric Power?

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    Guide Author

    James Longley

    Managing Director

    min read
    Last Updated October 26, 2021

    With the conversation surrounding climate change, it’s now more important more than ever to consider your business’ energy consumption, and environmental sustainability. You may have read up on different types of renewable energy, such as solar power, wind power, geothermal energy , biomass and hydroelectric power – but what is hydroelectric power?

    Hydroelectric power is a form of energy that uses the power of water in motion to generate electricity. The source of hydroelectric power could be water flowing over a waterfall or over a dam. Hydroelectric power has been used for thousands of years: the Greeks used water wheels to grind wheat into flour and the Egyptians used water screws for irrigation. Since then, there have been several innovations that have allowed hydroelectric power to become part of the UK’s energy source. Today, there is a total hydroelectric power capacity of over 4,700 MW, including over 2,800 MW of pumped storage. Most of the hydroelectric power plants are in the wet and mountainous regions of Scotland and Wales.

    Our guide to what is hydroelectric power will inform you more about green energy. We hope this inspires you to think about converting your business to use which could, in turn, help save you money.

    Uses of hydroelectric power

    There are many uses of hydroelectric power, but the most notable one is for electricity generation. Over 20% of the world’s electricity production is made using hydroelectric power. However, there are other interesting uses of hydroelectric power:

    • Hydropower was an ancient method used to turn flour into grain and for irrigation, and we still use it now to produce food, keep livestock and saw timber and stone.
    • Energy storage. Hydroelectric power plants can provide grid energy storage. This ensures that it is able to store power during low usage periods and produce a higher output during high usage periods.
    • Hydropower was also used for generations in some industries, which still continues to this day. Hydroelectric power can drive the bellows in small blast furnaces and is used in extraction of metal ores, in a method known as hushing.

    The most famous hydroelectric power plant is the Three Gorge Dam in China, which is 50% bigger than the second largest power station in the world. China is the world leader in hydroelectric power, but other major hydroelectricity countries include Brazil, USA and India.

    Hydroelectric energy advantages and disadvantages

    The hydroelectric energy advantages include being a renewable and clean source of energy. Due to its reliance on the water cycle, which is powered by the sun, hydroelectric power will always be sustainable.  Plus, it won’t pollute the air like power plants that burn fossil fuels, so it doesn’t cause any . Hydroelectric power is a domestic source of energy, allowing the country to produce its own energy without relying on international fuel sources.

    Hydroelectric power is flexible, so it can easily fluctuate between zero power to maximum output to provide power to the grid, providing essential backup energy during cuts or electricity disruptions. The construction of hydroelectric power plants creates reservoirs and lakes that can be used for recreational opportunities, such as swimming, boating, and fishing. It also provides flood control, clean drinking water and irrigation support.

    However, there are some disadvantages to hydroelectric power too. Most notably the impact on fish. To create a hydroelectric power plant, there must be a dam or gate to control the water flow – this prevents fish from reaching their breeding ground and in turn can have an effect on animals that rely on fish for food. Additionally, it’s not cheap to build a hydroelectric power plant, in fact, this renewable energy source power plant is more expensive to build than similar sized fossil fuel plants. Plus, there are limited locations where a hydroelectric power plant can be built, and it can pose a serious flood risk to any town or city nearby.

    That’s the end to our guide on: what is hydroelectric power? We hope you have learned more about hydroelectric energy and have become inspired to use green energy for your business. To help protect the environment and save money on your prices, let Utility Bidder search the market for you to provide the best deals and services.

    Hydroelectric energy advantages and disadvantages

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