Hydropower: Meaning, Features and Importance

What is the Meaning of Hydropower?
Hydropower ( or water power) is electric power generated by the motion of water. For this reason, hydropower is often also called 'hydroelectric power'.

Hydropower refers to power generated from water by rotating turbines. The force of falling water generally causes the turbines to rotate causing mechanical movements that create electrical energy, which is then distributed to homes, offices and industries.

The energy produced is normally clean and does not produce greenhouse gasses like fossil fuels. Besides heating and lighting, hydropower drives heavy industrial machinery and other equipment.

Features of Hydropower
1. Kinetic. Hydropower is kinetic, which means that it involves movement (specifically, the movement of water such as the sea's waves).

2. Natural. Hydropower uses a natural resource - water - to generate electricity.

3. Sustainable. When used correctly, hydropower can be sustainable. However, some large dam projects have done substantial damage to the environment.

4. Historic. Hydropower has been used by humans for centuries - water wheels turning mills are an early example of hydropower.

5. Contingent. Hydropower is contingent on environmental factors such as the height of a waterfall or the strength of a wave.

6. Adaptable. Hydropower can be generated in numerous different ways: using dams, using mill wheels, and by capturing the power of water falling down waterfalls.

7. Efficient. Hydroelectric power plants can be as much as 95% efficient, meaning that they waste very little energy.

Importance of Hydropower
The importance of Hydropower or Hydroelectric power is summarized below:

1. It is a safer option: Unlike nuclear energy and fossil fuels, hydroelectric power doesn't have adverse effects on the health of an individual.

2. Hydroelectric power can be relied upon: As long as water is available, you'll have power to any levels you desire. Many manufacturing industries use it as their primary source of energy.

3. Hydropower provides green energy: Hydropower plants do not need to release greenhouse gases.  Hydropower provides clean energy that doesn't pollute the environment.

4. It can be re-used: Hydropower is renewable. Its source (water) can be used over and over.

5. It's dependable: Hydropower is always available and at your desired voltage. Fluctuations can occur just for a few minutes when the power voltage is being adjusted.

6. It can be regulated: Hydropower can be adjusted to fit the needed voltage by controlling the flow of water.

7. It is cheaper: Hydropower plants can generate income for even up to a hundred years, and that explains why they charge less.

8. It prevents Floods: Hydropower dams are great reservoirs of water and can help to prevent floods during a heavy downpour.

9. Hydropower provides employment opportunities: Hydropower plants create vacancies for managers, technicians, marketers, and receptionists.

10. Can act as attraction sites: Mega hydropower plants can invite tourists and other machinery enthusiasts to visit the stations and learn some tit-bits about how they function.

1. Social costs. The installation of hydropower plants can be time-consuming and disruptive for people who live nearby.

2. Environmental costs of dams. Dams can irreversibly alter the habitats of water-dwelling species, and kill off members of those species at an alarming rate.

Conclusion: Hydropower has established itself as the best type of energy. However, in order to benefit and protect the environment at the same time, a lot of research needs to be done. Better production methods will help to keep the world a better place for the coming generations.

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