Hydropower Pros and Cons | Compared with other Methods
Hydropower is the electricity generated by use of falling water from the dams. This water power is generated due to the rotation of turbines under the force of water while forcing out of dams. This power is considered to be one of the safest methods of electricity generation.
This method of electricity generation is one of the earliest techniques followed in many countries. However, there are a few disadvantages and advantages in this hydropower method of electricity generation.
1. Less risky method
2. Minimal maintenance
4. Environmental friendly
5. Adaptable in most places in the world.
2. Issues with water regulation
3. Chances of conflicts between countries and states
Less risky method: The water power is one of the less risky methods when compared to other techniques of electricity generation. When you see the method like thermal electricity and nuclear power, the technical labor or the people around are affected by the process. Even, when there are natural disasters, there are chances of a release of nuclear waste which can damage the environment and affect the people around. In thermal methods employing coal, the internal temperature in the power plant is very high. This can affect the health technical personnel working in it.
Minimal maintenance: The maintenance of hydro power units is a part of regular maintenance of dams to ensure water flow and storage. Hence, there is less requirement for extra maintenance of the power plant alone. Further, there is no requirement of raw material, it’s processing, transport, and waste disposal etc. Whereas in another method there is a heavy requirement of raw material, its transport, waste disposal.
As mentioned above, since there is less requirement for raw material, maintenance, the production of electricity is less expensive.
There is no release of smoke, heat and other waste so this method is environmentally friendly. It is also called renewable energy as the evaporated water during the process again reaches the ground as water.
Adaptable in most places in the world.
This method of electricity generation is adaptable in any part of the world. The only requirement is sufficient water flow. But other methods like nuclear power, coal based thermal power plants are not adaptable everywhere. Nuclear power plants cannot be set in places with a heavy population as it can expose them nuclear radiation. Thermal power plants cannot be set up in places where there is no coal. The cost of import of coal could add up very much and would economically feasible in low-income countries.
This method of electricity generation is not a reliable one. It cannot provide electricity throughout the year if the water levels deplete in the reservoirs during summers. Also, when there are floods and drought, the scenario could change drastically and one has to look for other sources of electricity.
Issues with water regulation
The generation of power is dependent on the release of water from the reservoirs. When there is less rainfall, the release of water would be controlled to save for the future. In such case, hydropower generation would be hindered. Sometimes, the hydropower reservoirs would be dependent on the release of water from upstream dams. If the upstream dam has issues with maintenance or water release, then the downstream reservoir could have no options to generate hydropower.
Chances of conflicts between countries and states
As seen in the above points, when there are dams in downstream and upstream of the river, there would be conflicts between two states or two countries.
The production of electricity in this method is less efficient than other methods. One cannot regulate the production at will. In most cases, it is like just set it and leave it.
The hydropower would be insufficient as there are limits on the speed of water flow and the number of turbines. So, in the case of excess energy requirement, the governments also set up other methods of electricity generation like thermal (fossil fuels), nuclear, solar, geothermal etc. This is required to meet the growing demands for electricity.