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Hydroelectric Power Technology And Its Effects On The Environment

1229 words - 5 pages

For centuries, scientists and energy experts from all over the world have been making efforts to look for alternative resources in order to solve human being’s energy crisis. Consequently, a great number of renewable energy source have been discovered, including solar power, nuclear power, wind-generated power and hydroelectric power. This essay aims at giving some basic knowledge on hydroelectric power technology with focuses on its impacts on environment. Firstly, a brief introduction of hydroelectricity will be given, followed by some discussions regarding its effects on environment, then a conclusion will be drawn based on the discussions and some recommendations for the future at the end.

Hydroelectricity is a renewable energy source that uses the energy of running water to generate electrical energy, which will not produce any green house gases. Gases like carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide contributes towards green house gases, and they can be easily produced by human activities including burning fossil fuels for energy, land clearing and agriculture (Greenhouse gas emissions 2013). It is evident that, with the development of modern society, the amount of greenhouse gas that has been released into the atmosphere increased drastically. As a result, countries are seeking alternative energy such as hydroelectricity that is not only environmental friendly, but also more effective in generating electricity.

During 2006, According to the National Development and Reform Commission of China, 366 grams of coal would only produce 1 kWh of electricity. By comparison, Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower plant, located in China, has the capacity of producing 22,500 MW of power annually (Three Gorges Project 2010). It is also capable of reducing coal consumption by 31 million tonnes per year, avoiding 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, millions of tonnes of dust, one million tonnes of sulfur dioxide, 370,000 tonnes of nitric oxide, 10,000 tonnes of carbon monoxide, and a significant amount of mercury (Ramaraochetlapalli 2013). Statistics shows that from the year 2003 to 2007, electricity power that has been produced by Three Gorges Dam equaled that of 84 million tonnes of standard coal (Ramaraochetlapalli 2013). Moreover, it helped reduce carbon dioxide by 190 million tonnes, sulfur dioxide by 2.29 million tonnes, and nitrogen oxides by 980,000 tonnes. (Ramaraochetlapalli 2013). Another advantage of a hydroelectricity water storage dam is that it be used as a source of drinking water and for recreational purposes such as boating and fishing. Reservoirs created by hydroelectric schemes often provide facilities for water sports and become tourist attractions themselves. In some countries, aquaculture in reservoirs is common. Multi-use dams installed for irrigation support agriculture with a relatively constant water supply. Large hydro dams can control floods, which would otherwise affect people living downstream of the...

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