The Pros And Cons Of Hydropower

2220 words - 9 pages

Since the invention of electricity, mankind has found many ways to generate electricity by using different energy sources. Energy sources can be classified into two main types which is renewable and non renewable or finite energy (Twidella, & Weir, 1985). According to Twindella and Weir (1985) renewable energy is defined as energy that has sustainable sources and can be found in the natural environment. This means that the energy sources can be generated on its own without any human interference (Twidella & Weir, 1985). Examples of renewable energy sources are solar energy, wind energy and hydro energy. Non-renewable energy or known as finite energy is defined as energy that is idle and needs an interference to activate the energy to generate electricity (Twidell & Weir, 1985). Examples of finite energy are nuclear energy and fossil fuels.
Renewable energy is a wide topic to cover so we will narrow it down to one that is widely used which is hydropower. Twidella and Weir (1985) explained that the word hydro-power is restricted to the generation of shaft power through falling water (p.182). Basically, water that is in the dam has a high potential energy. When the water is falling through the shaft the potential energy is converted into kinetic energy and when the turbine moves through the force of the water it generates electricity (Darling, n.d). There are four types of hydro-power plants which are conventional hydro-power plant, pump storage power plant, tidal power plants and depression power plant (Dandekar & Sharma, 1983). According to Dandekar and Sharma (1983) Conventional power plants are those that make use of the normal flow of water to generate electricity, while Pump storage plant work like a conventional power station but with the ability to pump water up to the higher reservoir to generate more electricity. Tidal power stations make use of the movement of the wave to move the turbine, and last but not least, depression power plant make use of the depression presented in the natural topography by directing sea water into it, thus moving the turbine and generating hydro-power (Dandekar & Sharma, 1983). This discussion is about the advantages and disadvantages of hydro-power.
One of the advantages of hydropower is that it is more reliable than any other sources. Turbines have an average life span of about 50 years (Twidella & Weir, 1985) compared to other renewable energy such as solar energy which have solar panels that last an average of 20 to 25 years (The Cost of Solar Penal , 2011). Hydro-power is more reliable in the long run than non renewable sources such as nuclear energy which has a life span of 25-50 years but have more problems than hydropower. The nuclear plant breaks down from overuse and needs to be repaired thus making it not reliable (Delgado, 2009). Hydro power stations such as the Chenderoh Hydroelectric Power station in Malaysia which was built in 1929 (Dahlen, 1993) and is still generating...

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