Hydropower is maybe the oldest and most used type of green energy source. It is widely spread on almost every river strong enough to make the turbines move and it is a very clean and cheap green resource.
But how much do you really know about hydropower and hydro energy? How efficient is it and how it is produced? In this article you will learn about the 7 most interesting facts about hydropower you probably never thought about.
Hydropower is the only renewable resource competitive with fossil fuels
First of all, hydropower has a 90% efficiency, which is a lot compared to fossil fuels that have only 50% efficiency and it is cheap and accessible. Today it provides about 20% of the electricity worldwide and more than 30 countries use water force as their only source of energy. I would say that this is serious competition!
Hydropower doesn’t affect in any way the atmosphere
Because its “fuel” is the force of the water falling, hydropower doesn’t have any gas emissions (thus it can safely replace conventional fuels) so we can consider it a green energy resource with no contamination. Combined with solar and with wind energy, the hydro resource can unveil interesting and innovative Green and Eco Projects.
Hydropower can affect the environment
The construction of the power plants can result in damaging the ecosystems by killing fish population. This applies especially to large-scale power plants so those of you who like fishing are still safe, as today we mostly use smaller hydropower plants.
There are three types of power plants that use hydropower
Depending on their size, there are Large Hydropower plants, with a capacity of 30 MW or more, Small Hydropower plants, with a capacity of 100 kW to 30 MW, and Micro Hydropower plants with up to 100 kW capacity (this is enough electricity for a home, a farm or even a village, so we can easily start building new Eco Cities.).
Hydropower is the leading renewable resource
Because it doesn’t depend so much on weather conditions (such as the solar energy) and the water resources are somehow stable during the entire year, hydropower has become the most used renewable resource of all – it provides approximately 97% of electricity produced by green energy resources. The other renewable resources (solar, wind, biomass, geothermal) provide together the remaining 3%!
Hydropower reservoirs provide recreation facilities
On the land (and water) around a hydropower plant you have many water-based activities to choose from, such as fishing, boating, canoes, hiking trails or you can even have a nice picnic with your friends if you enjoy the constant falling water sound. Of course, you cannot develop such activities around, or nearby a Nuclear Power plant, which is another efficient green energy resource that shares some common fields with the Hydro energy.
The first hydroelectric power plant was built in 1879
Where do you think the first hydropower plant was built? Well, it seems logical to have been near a huge waterfall, with huge water force – Niagara Falls. By 1881, the city of Niagara Falls was lightened by hydropower.
Today, Hydropower provides one-fifth of the world’s electricity, and there are countries like Norway and New Zealand that produce more than 75% of their electricity using hydroelectric power.