What are the positives and negatives of hydroelectricity?

Also can any one explain to me properly what it is? I have been set a homework on it and have to write the positives and negatives on hydroelectricity, solar power and tidal energy. I am really stuck on this part though! Please help, any suggestions would be fab!


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  1. Nigel P
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Hydro power is simply generating electricity from water flowing through turbines. While you can use the natural flow of a river in small scale schemes more usually it is associated with damming a gorge to get a large head of water then running large scale turbines off the flow from the base of the dam.

    Advantages. If you have the right geography, like Iceland or parts of Scotland then you can generate a lot of power at low cost (once the dam is buildt you just have maintainance and the interest on the capital for the building costs, the "fuel" is free. Hydro power does not produce pollution in the same way as fossil fuel or nuclear plants do, but see the disadvantages below.

    Disadvantages – you need the right geography, a flat, arid land is not good for hydropower, or even a flat, wet land. You need somewhere with reasonable hills or mountains, with damable valleys.
    In some places the damming and flooding of the valley has little or no detrimental human or environmental impact but schemes like the 5 Gorges project in China have both dramatic environmental impact, both from flooding of land and upsetting the flow of water, and of silt downstream as well as making many thousands of people homeless.
    Badly sited and designed dams can also be a huge safety hazard if they break, fortunately they tend to be reasonably well designed and planned nowadays.
    Disrupting the water flow can have advantages, such as flood control and water storage in areas with rainy and drough seasons but it can also deprive the river and people downstream of the water they need.
    Silt settling out in the impounded lake can clog up the lake and removing the silt can make the river erode more rapidly downstream

  2. JJ
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Great in the fact its a renewable energy source and is alternative form of energy to coal fire power stations. i guess the construction of them gives the country lots of employment for the duration of the build.
    negatives – its ugly on the environment and leaves a scar on the natural landscape. Dams that are built flood areas upstream, possibily reducing the size of agricultural land and displacing wildlife.

  3. Jenny S
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Hydroelectricity is produced from water passing through a turbine which converts the energy of the moving water into electricity by rotating a generator. It is most commonly formed from water catchment dams, where the water either comed from the base of the dam and turns the generator, or is caried by pipeling further downstream so that a higher pressure is established to allow for the generation of greater energy. Hydro power is generally produced in mountainous areas where a deep body of water can be created, and thus a high pressure at the base of the dam.

    The greatest disadvantages relate to the interruption to the normal flow of the river. This will influence the life forms which use the river, and result in siltation problems. Usually it results in reduced water flow downstream, which causes narrowing of the channel, invasion of the channel by new plant species, possible algal problems and a break in fish migration habits. The new dam will also destroy an environment amd habitats which are irreplaceable, and may also displace humans.

    The advantages include cheap power, a permanent water supply, creation of a possible recreation area, providing a possible drought water supply to the river downstream.

    The links below will explain further.

  4. A.Ganapathy India
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Those are renewable environmental friendly and low cost energy.The cost is more and the consistency is limited to certain period only.

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