An early form of hydro power,
the traditional water mill.
power is power that is generated by the sheer force that moving
common method of generating hydroelectricity is dams, although
power can also be generated from paddle wheels, waves, sea
currents, and any other form of moving water.
power is actually the most common kind of renewable energy
in use, and with good reason.
to other forms of renewable energy production, hydroelectric
power is considered an excellent way to generate power because
of its dependable output and low maintenance needs.
Hydroelectricity pros and cons
however, also a somewhat controversial form of renewable energy
because it has a very large environmental impact. Altering
any sort of water system, like a dam on a river for instance,
has an intrusive impact on the surrounding ecosystem, and
can change it significantly.
other hand, hydroelectric dams are an excellent source of
power because once they are built they require no additional
fossil fuels to operate, and need very little maintenance
to remain operational. In fact, some dams have been generating
energy for up to one hundred years, which makes them an excellent
renewable power source.
that dams form can also be beneficial in their own right.
In dryer countries in the Middle East for example, the reservoirs
of dams can become important ecosystems and can be used for
farm irrigation as well as aquaculture activities.
Completed in 2012, the Three
Gorges dam on the Yangste River
in China is today the world's largest.
While the Hoover
Dam remains as the most notable of US power projects,
hydroelectric energy production is also a popular choice in
some developing countries. China, in particular, with its
powerful rivers and blossoming power needs, is building a
huge number of dams (i.e., the Three
Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric power station)
to help offset the future power requirements of an increasingly
power hungry population.
countries like Canada
also use hydroelectric power extensively. Several Canadian
provinces generate a majority of their power from hydro installations,
and the province of Quebec is home to the company with the
world's largest total hydroelectric power output.
City has also joined the "next wave" in hydro power
by experimenting with wave
turbines deployed within the strong currents of the East
River to help generate at least part of its ever-growing energy
information on hydroelectric power around the Web:
Literacy Council - Hydroelectric Power
- Good intro to the topic with an historical overview, current
uses, including suggested reading and related resources.
- Wikipedia - Comprehensive look at its history and
recent developments including pros, cons and related controversies,
notable hydroelectric projects worldwide, with an extensive
list of related references and resources.
Tours - Interactive tour of a hydroelectric power
project with information on how hydroelectricity works, a
walk through a hydro generator, with related historical timeline
and glossary of terms.
Power - Energy from Moving Water - Kid-friendly page
explaining where hydro power comes from, how it works, its
effects on the environment, including related illustrations
and interactive slideshow.