Environmental Advantages of Hydroelectric Power

Environmental Advantages of Hydroelectric Power

We all know how bad fossil fuels are for the environment. With the focus starting to shift away from these damaging non-renewable sources of energy, the arguments in favor of renewable green energy are ever-increasing. However, if you don’t know a lot about renewable energy sources and what these can do for the environment, it can be tricky to see why we should choose these instead of fossil fuels.

The bottom line is that fossil fuels are a finite resource. Once we have run out of the crude oil that we use to create electricity, there won’t be more where that came from. These fossil fuels are also incredibly damaging to the environment.

environmental advantages of hydroelectric power

When you burn fossil fuels, it creates carbon dioxide, which when created in excessive amounts can damage the ozone layer around the globe. This hole in the ozone layer lets more UV light from the sun through into the atmosphere, which then causes the planet’s temperatures to rise. The ozone layer works a little bit like sunscreen, keeping the world protected from the majority of the sun’s power. However, once this has become damaged, it’s very hard to repair it again. Using non-renewable energy sources only makes the problem worse.

Renewable energy such as hydroelectric power can be a real gamechanger, as these are cleaner energy sources that don’t have the kind of devastating impact on the environment that fossil fuels do. 

What is Hydroelectric Power?

Hydroelectric power is a renewable source of energy that harnesses the natural movement of water in order to create electricity. This flow of water turns a turbine, which then generates electricity thanks to the electric generator that it’s hooked up to. This is a renewable energy source because water is free and in plentiful supply. Unlike damaging, dangerous fossil fuels, there will always be more water to use to create electricity.

There are three main types of hydroelectric power plants. These types are impoundment, diversion, and pumped storage. Each of these features different styles of power stations that work to pump water through turbines to create electricity or use the natural flow of gravity to create electricity using running water.

The bottom line is that hydroelectric power is much more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels. Let’s take a look at some of the environmental advantages of hydroelectric power.

What are the Environmental Advantages of Hydroelectric Power?

There are several environmental advantages and benefits of using hydroelectric power. These include the fact that it is:

  • Renewable
  • Clean
  • Flexible
  • Affordable
  • Offers recreational opportunities

But why exactly do these environmental advantages of hydroelectric power matter? Read on.

environmental advantages of hydropower

Renewable Energy Source

One of the most obvious benefits is that hydroelectric power is a renewable energy source. This means that no matter how much we use it to create electricity, we aren’t going to run out of water. So we can use as much or as little water as we need to in order to meet the electricity demand.

The only thing that hydroelectric power is reliant on is the natural water cycle. This is of course driven by the sun, with evaporated water being deposited back into the source, so the cycle can continue again.

Clean Energy

Hydroelectric power is known to be a clean energy source. This means that it doesn’t produce a lot of heat or waste emissions as fossil fuels do. Thus, it doesn’t produce tons of carbon dioxide each time we need to increase the supply of electricity. 

There are low to no emissions from hydroelectric power, so it won’t have as devastating an effect on the environment as diesel and oil plants do. There is also no need to complete harmful drilling in order to access the water needed for hydroelectric power.

Because hydroelectric power is a source of clean energy, it means this won’t pollute the air with harmful chemicals. These harmful chemicals from other types of energy plants can cause acid rain, which is destructive to the natural environments around them. 

Flexible Source of Energy

Whereas other types of fossil fuels can take a while to process, hydroelectric power plants give immediate results. They are also super easy to switch on and off to meet supply and demand. They can reach maximum output in a short space of time, which makes them incredibly useful during disruptions or large power outages.

how does hydropower benefit the environment

Affordable Energy

Another great advantage of hydroelectric power is that it is one of the cheaper types of renewable energy sources to set up. It makes use of the natural water formations, and part of the costs can be lessened by converting already existing structures. These can include tunnels, bridges, as well as dams, depending on the type of hydroelectric plant being built.

Recreational Advantages

Some types of hydroelectric plants, such as impoundment plants, can create areas for recreational activities. Where there is a reservoir in place, people can use these for swimming, boating, water sports, and fishing.

How Do Hydroelectric Dams Help the Environment?

It is true that hydroelectric dams can have some impact on the immediate natural environment, especially as they are constructed and slightly alter the natural patterns of water in the area. However, there are also major benefits that hydroelectric dams bring to these areas, as well. Hydroelectric dams can provide a source of irrigation to the surrounding area.

Hydroelectric dams can be used to control the flow of the water passing through a certain area. This can help to control the flow of water during periods of drought as well as during wetter times of the year. When the water source is scarce, more water can be allowed to flow through this area. This can be incredibly beneficial to aquatic habitats. During the wetter months, this flow can be reduced to prevent flooding.

Some hydroelectric plants will provide a fish ladder so that fish can migrate back to their breeding grounds. This can help to lessen the damage to the local ecosystems in place.

benefits of using hydroelectric power

Gracon, LLC. Hydropower Services

There are many environmental advantages of hydroelectric power, especially when compared to damaging energy sources such as fossil fuels. The bottom line is that this is a clean, renewable source of energy that won’t create any waste or air pollution. Hydroelectric power also allows us to not have to worry about running out of water to create more electricity, unlike with fossil fuels.

Gracon, LLC. takes pride in our range of different services and projects, including hydropower projects. In fact, we have been providing government and private entities alike with hydroelectric rehabilitation services for over 30 years. Our team has the knowledge and experience to work with, repair, or replace the equipment necessary to run your hydroelectric facility in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible. To learn more, fill out our contact form, or give us a call today!