Whenever water flows over running turbines, there is a generation of electrical energy which is known as the hydroelectric energy. The use of hydroelectric power as a source of renewable energy dates back to the 1940s where the hydroelectric energy contributed a third of U.S energy needs.Since then the U.S has invested in alternative sources of energy which has made the hydropower to contribute to around 6% of the country’s energy demands.
Hydroelectric energy generation comes with both advantages and disadvantages and it is important that these environmental and economic implications be understood well before making a decision on whether or not to invest in the hydropower generation.
Explained below are some of the pros of making investments on the hydroelectric power generation. The first advantage is that the resource to be used that is water is free and can be readily accessed as compared to fossil fuels which are hard to come by and expensive. Secondly the hydroelectric energy generation is highly efficient in conversion of energy where about 90% of the tapped energy is converted to electrical energy.The third advantage of investing in the hydroelectric power generation is because the process does not pollute the land,air and water unlike other energy sources whose generation causes environmental pollution and contributes to global warming.Fourthly.the hydroelectric energy is renewable since water that is used to run turbines evaporates and rains naturally hence it is always available. Fifthly,the hydroelectric power generation has proven to be highly useful in improving the environmental quality through the provision of high quality water that can be used to irrigate farms and the process also creates large habitats for fish and other aquatic life.The sixth advantage of investing in hydroelectric power generation is because of its capacity to keep up with demand by enabling the investor to set up more power plants in addition to the existing dams. The seventh pro of investing in hydroelectric energy is that alongside power generation, you can set up recreational amenities for holidaymakers such as camping, water sports and fishing.The cost-effectiveness of hydroelectric power generation makes it more advantageous than alternative sources of energy like coal or natural gas.
The following are the disadvantages of investing in hydroelectric power generation.The first disadvantage is that hydroelectric power generation process can seriously lead to the destruction of natural habitats. Secondly,the process of hydropower generation can emit significant amount of methane and carbon IV oxide when trees and plants in the power plant rots in absence of oxygen. The dependence of the hydropower on heavy rain to optimally generate energy,the risk of flooding it poses on the surrounding settlements and the expensive nature of installation are some other disadvantages of hydroelectric energy investment.