Environmental Impacts On Hydro Power Essay

1054 words - 4 pages

Environmental Impacts on Hydro powerHydroelectric power plants have many environmental impacts, some of which are just beginning to be understood. These impacts, however, must be weighed against the environmental impacts of alternative sources of electricity. Until recently there was an almost universal belief that hydropower was a clean and environmentally safe method of producing electricity. Hydroelectric power plants do not emit any of the standard atmospheric pollutants such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide given off by fossil fuel fired power plants. In this respect, hydro power is better than burning coal, oil or natural gas to produce electricity, as it does not contribute to global warming or acid rain. Similarly, hydroelectric power plants do not result in the risks of radioactive contamination associated with nuclear power plants.Environmental Impacts on Hydro powerHydroelectric power plants have many environmental impacts, some of which are just beginning to be understood. These impacts, however, must be weighed against the environmental impacts of alternative sources of electricity. Until recently there was an almost universal belief that hydropower was a clean and environmentally safe method of producing electricity. Hydroelectric power plants do not emit any of the standard atmospheric pollutants such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide given off by fossil fuel fired power plants. In this respect, hydro power is better than burning coal, oil or natural gas to produce electricity, as it does not contribute to global warming or acid rain. Similarly, hydroelectric power plants do not result in the risks of radioactive contamination associated with nuclear power plants.HYDRO-ELECTRIC POWERHydroelectric power plants convert the kinetic energy contained in falling water into electricity. The energy in flowing water is ultimately derived from the sun, and is therefore constantly being renewed. Energy contained in sunlight evaporates water from the oceans and deposits it on land in the form of rain. Differences in land elevation result in rainfall runoff, and allow some of the original solar energy to be captured as hydro-electric powerHYDRO-ELECTRIC POWERHydroelectric power plants convert the kinetic energy contained in falling water into electricity. The energy in flowing water is ultimately derived from the sun, and is therefore constantly being renewed. Energy contained in sunlight evaporates water from the oceans and deposits it on land in the form of rain. Differences in land elevation result in rainfall runoff, and allow some of the original solar energy to be captured as hydro-electric powerHow Hydro power worksHydro comes from a Greek word meaning water. Hydro-electricity uses the potential energy of water stored in lakes. The potential energy in the water is turned into kinetic energy when it flows down though the pipes and into the power station. Gravity causes the downward movement of the water. Water under pressure enters...

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