10 Hydroelectric Energy Facts
Hydroelectricity energy is actually electrical energy produced from water power, more commonly known as hydropower. This power is energy that was generated from the water’s force moving at extremely high speeds. Once harnessed, hydropower may be utilized for a wide array of applications such as electricity generation, irrigation, and powering machinery used in industrial settings. To know more about hydroelectricity, here are 10 hydroelectricity energy facts:
- Hydropower plants transform kinetic energy or motion from flowing water into electrical energy. This energy is actually sourced from the sun making it a renewable energy source. The sun’s energy make water evaporate from various bodies of water and will be released back to land as rain.
- Before moving on to other hydroelectricity energy facts, you should first know that hydroelectricity energy plant was first produced around the year 1882 in Wisconsin. It utilized the Fox River as the main hydro source.
- Hydroelectricity energy is among the most popular renewable energy types and it accounts for roughly 16% of the world’s electricity use. It is also important to note that this percentage is steadily increasing as more and more countries are building bigger hydropower stations.
- One of the hydroelectricity energy facts you should also know about is this: it is considered the cheapest method for generating electricity. The reason for this is that flowing water, which is hydropower’s energy source, is completely free. It is likewise renewed annually though rain and snow.
- Hydroelectricity costs are considerably lower than other forms of renewable energy since on the average, the electricity cost from a hydroelectricity power plant bigger than 10megawatts is only around 3-5 cents for every kilowatt hour. Among all the hydroelectricity energy facts, consumers should keep this in mind.
- Generation of hydroelectricity occurs in over 150 countries worldwide, with Asia-Pacific being the biggest generator. Specifically, China produces the most hydroelectricity energy, about 721 terawatt hours in 2012 alone, which accounted for 17% of their domestic electricity usage.
- Currently, there are 3 hydroelectricity energy plants bigger than 10 gigawatts; these include Venezuela’s Guri Dam, China’s Three Gorges Dam, and Brazil’s Itaipu Dam.
- In the United States, the most commonly used renewable energy source for producing electricity is hydropower. This is one of those hydroelectricity energy facts to think about when considering alternative sources of electricity.
- Hydroelectric energy plants don’t release air pollutants like carbon and sulfur dioxide among others, which are commonly emitted by power plants powered by fossil fuels. In this context, hydroelectricity is better for the environment than burning natural gas, oil, or coal to generate electricity. In addition, it does not carry the same potential risk of contamination with radioactive wastes as in nuclear plants.
- Hydroelectricity can be harnessed from water using four common methods which include dams, pumped storage, run-of-the-river, and tidal power generation. With the dam method, water’s potential energy will be extracted from water contained in dams with the use of generators and water turbines. In the pumped up storage method, electricity will be produced by transporting water between reservoirs placed in varying heights.
When compared with the pumped storage method, run-of-the-river power stations aren’t really developed for storing water. However, like pumped storage, it makes use of drop water sources and elevation techniques for generating electricity. Hydroelectricity plants that produce tidal power harvests energy produced by the water’s rise and fall because of the daily tidal phenomenon.