Benefits of Hydroelectric Power

A trip to Niagara Falls or to the Hoover Dam can be an incredible experience. Both of these sites demonstrate the amazing power of water.  When you first see Niagara Falls, you will gaze in amazement at the huge volume of water that is flowing down the cliffs.  It is breathtaking to see the caves behind the falls or to take a boat ride within a few hundred feet of the falls. The massive man-made structure that makes up Hoover dam is also very impressive.  It is truly one of the greatest engineering feats of all times.  The amount of water that is created in a reservoir by the dam is something that most people cannot comprehend.

Hydro PowerWhen you are taking in sites such as these, it is easy to miss some of the smaller buildings that have been built along the side of these structures.  There are many people who do not realize that the water that is flowing in front of them is generating the electricity that is used by millions of people in their homes.  There are tours that are offered that will teach you the benefits of hydroelectric power and what is it capable of.

Large Scale or Small Scale

The power plants that are used in Niagara Falls and Hoover Dam and other similar structures are able to provide a lot of electricity.  They use massive turbines that the flowing water will spin to generate electricity. The systems that are used to generate electricity using hydro power have been around for a long time and are very similar to some of the systems that are currently used.  Turbines can use screws, propellers, vortex systems and other methods to drive the generators. The biggest changes in recent years are the efficiency at which these systems operate.  The turbines and generators are getting better and more efficient.

While cities and people can pay utility companies for the energy they use that is generated by the large hydroelectric power plants, there are other smaller systems that can be used for single homes or for small businesses. It is possible to get the advantages of hydroelectric power in your own home with what are known as micro hydro power systems. These systems will usually generate around100 watts of electricity.  This is not enough to power a whole home, but it can make a difference in the amount of electricity that has to be bought for a home.

There are some micro systems that can generate up to 10 kilowatts of power that is enough to provide the power for a large home or a small business.  Much of the capability of the micro system that a home can use will depend on the water source they have.  Micro systems use natural flowing water and do not require any man made systems.  The better the source of flowing water on a property, the more electricity that these systems can generate

Why Choose Hydro Power

People who are considering using hydroelectric power want to know what the benefits of hydroelectric power are and how it can help them.  They want to know if it is something that will provide them with things they are looking for.  Some people would like to find a source of electricity that will help them lower their utility bills. Other people will be looking for energy sources that are renewable.  There are some people who are concerned about the impact that they have on the environment and are looking for ways to mitigate the damage they cause.  There are also people who are interested in finding a source of energy that accomplishes all of these things.

HydroelectricityThe advantages of hydroelectric energy will fall into all of the categories that people are looking for. The cost of generating hydroelectric power is much cheaper than many other methods. Despite the fact that it is not as efficient as other methods, it is still cheap to produce. The equipment that is needed for large scale and small scale systems is not very expensive to make and is designed to last a long time. This helps make this energy cheap to produce. The micro systems that can be used for the home have the capability to pay for themselves after a few years and once they are paid for, the homeowner can enjoy the rest of the savings that the systems generate.   There are also many tax breaks that are often offered to homeowners that use alternative sources of energy.

Hydro Power is considered a renewable source of energy.  It is something that will not run out in the way that fossil fuels will.  One of the disadvantages of hydroelectric power is that you have to have a flowing water source for it to work. This means it is not for everyone, but for those that do have access to the water; the worry about running out of this source is not very high on their list.

Hydro power is a clean energy source.  It is often referred to as a green energy source because it does not have a negative impact on the environment.  The only times it can harm the environment is when the structures that are used to divert the water alter the natural course of the water.  Any energy that is generated using hydro power will mean that less energy that comes from fossil fuels will be used.  That is going to have a positive impact on the environment in the long run.

The idea of using hydro power is only one of the things that people need to plan for in the future.  The more people who understand the benefits of hydroelectric power, the more likely it will grow in popularity.   It is important that everyone continues to find alternative source of energy to replace the fossil fuels that are quickly disappearing.   If we don’t, it could mean that there is big trouble in the future.  The next time you go take a vacation and see these incredible water structures, remember that they are doing a lot more than just providing you with an impressive view.