I know it seems a little hard to believe but it’s true. When you look at all the other forms of power that we come into contact every day whether it is the fuel in your car, the solar panels on your neighbours roof or just knowing that the power for your TV comes from the power station down the road belching smoke out of their giant chimneys. Hydropower is relatively unique in that it harnesses many of the best bits of both fossil fuel power and green technologies, so this week we are going to be looking at it in a bit more detail.
The most obvious benefit of Hydropower is that there are no pollutants. Pretty much all of the energy solutions we are looking into now have this as their core benefit but the issue which things like solar energy is that we only have the ability to harness a fraction of the total energy available. With hydropower we can get everything possible out of without putting anything bad back into the atmosphere.
In fact, because hydroelectricity operates through damns in many instances it actually has a positive impact on the environment by controlling the water flow through a given area. If an area has low rainfall, a damn becomes a water reservoir, helping to maintain a balance.
It also helps that it’s predictable. Although obviously, some areas are going to go through heavy rains or droughts, for the most part the flow of water around the world remains in a pretty much constant cycle. Compare this to something like wind energy where it is almost impossible to know from one day to the next what your returns could be.
In fact, this goes a little further, because this is pretty much the one source of renewable energy where we can actually control the returns. Because it is possible to vary the amount of water released at any time, we can have a real say in the amount of energy generated, which in turns means that at any one time we are only creating what we need.
So what are the problems? After all, it is sustainable, renewable and green to the extent that it actually has a positive effect on the environment. Well obviously, there are a limited number of places that you can put a damn to harness this kind of power. As an individual you can put solar panels on your house or a wind turbine in your garden and know that you are doing something not only good for the planet but for your personal wallet. However, unless you happen to have a large fast flowing river running through your back yard you are aren’t going to see much benefit personally.
Many countries now get the majority of their power from hydroelectric damns and ultimately you will see the savings. Fuel prices change, which effect your monthly bills, but water isn’t fluctuating in price, so invest in hydroelectric solutions because ultimately they will make a huge difference.