What are the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower?
Do you want to know the main advantages and disadvantages of hydropower? You do well because it is a fundamental renewable energy. In this post we will review its pros and cons, as well as its current situation. Therefore, we recommend that you continue reading the article and become a true expert in this type of energy, which today already represents more than 10% of the total.
What is hydraulic energy?
Hydric or hydraulic energy is that which originates with the movement of water, taking advantage of the kinetic and potential energies that this natural resource generates . It is one of the oldest and, logically, has undergone a great evolution, currently coming mostly from modern hydroelectric plants .
Next we will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower. We already anticipate that it has more positive than negative aspects .
What are the advantages of hydroelectric power
Now that you know what hydropower is and how it works, we are going to break down its main advantages . These are the benefits of hydropower:
✅It is a renewable energy . When it comes directly from the rain, it is always replenished so the depletion of this resource is practically impossible. Renewable energy accounts for more than 40% of total generation in Spain.
✅It is totally safe . This is because it is an energy that does not generate toxic waste and, therefore, is clean and respectful with the environment . Furthermore, there are no accidents such as those caused, for example, in nuclear power plants.
✅Flexible production . If you wonder what advantages hydraulic energy presents compared to other energy sources, one of them is the possibility of generating more or less electricity depending on the needs.
✅Another advantage of hydropower is that it is very stable unlike, for example, solar energy that directly depends on the sky situation. In other words, hydropower does not depend on rain daily to produce electricity because there are very important water reserves.
✅It is very economical . It is expensive to build the hydroelectric power station, but the energy source is renewed free of charge and, moreover, it does not depend on market variations.
Disadvantages of hydropower
As you have seen, the pros of hydropower are many and of great relevance , but hydropower also has a series of disadvantages that you will know below without having to enter Wikipedia:
❌It has negative environmental consequences . Despite having many positive aspects, it must be borne in mind that the construction of hydroelectric plants generates changes in the ecosystem, seriously affecting animals and plants, as well as water quality.
❌It can be affected by droughts . It is true that it does not depend on rain on a daily basis, but the seasons with many droughts can be a real impediment when it comes to generating electricity in this way.
❌It is difficult to find the right place. It is necessary that it has the appropriate orography and is dependent on the water course so that the maximum possible use of the terrain can be made.
❌Assembling the hydroelectric plant is expensive. As we said, it is an advantage that in the long run hydraulic energy is very economical, but the investment to build the plant is very high. In addition, on many occasions, it will require the expropriation of land with the cost of compensation that this entails.
These are the most important advantages and disadvantages of hydropower, but there are many more. As you may have seen, this type of electricity has very positive aspects such as being a renewable energy and, at the same time, it has some peculiarities that cause controversy .
The situation in our country of this type of energy is good, but it is still far from countries like Norway where it is the majority . In the last year it represented 13.7% of the total, assuming an improvement of almost double compared to the previous twelve months .
In the vast majority of autonomous communities, hydropower is produced, but it is striking that five of them generate between 80 and 90% of the country's hydraulic power. They are the following: Castilla y León, Galicia, Aragon, Catalonia and Extremadura. Undoubtedly, these regions that know the advantages of hydropower.
However, Córdoba is the province that generates the most hydraulic electricity due to the water richness of its soils. This area of northern Andalusia has ten hydroelectric plants.
On the other hand, it is good news to point out that renewable energies already account for almost 50% of the electricity produced in Spain . Wind is the main one with 19.8%, with hydroelectric being the second green energy in the ranking.
8 Benefits of Hydraulic Energy
Hydropower is a renewable energy that offers a large number of benefits for the environment; Thanks to it, we get electricity from the water that is stored in the reservoirs. Find out what it is, how it works and its main advantages.
Hydraulic energy it is a renewable energy that, in general, obtains its energy supply through the water stored in the reservoirs. These are formed by natural spaces in which a river flows. Normally it is a valley in which a dam is built, although, as we will see, there are different types of hydroelectric plants.
The dams are used to store water, turning the river into a large reservoir. On the other hand, these dams offer a system that allows the water to fall from its highest points. When falling, the water passes through a set of turbines that rotate due to the force of the water. In this turning process, the turbines produce what is known as hydraulic energy.
Types of hydraulic power plants
Although the process of obtaining hydraulic energy is common to the different types of power plants that produce it, each one operates differently, although they all have one of the advantages of hydraulic energy: they have a long useful life.
Flowing water plants. They do not have reservoirs and are on land without too much unevenness. Since the water is very static, this type of power plant depends on rainfall, having its maximum power in times of abundant rains.
Central reservoir. The great advantage of this type of plant is that it can store water, so it is not subject to rain and, in the event of a drought, it can continue to generate energy.
Pumping stations. They are made up of two reservoirs that are located at different levels and rationalize water resources depending on the greater or lesser demand for water. When more water is needed, the higher reservoir turns the turbines and the water falls into the lower reservoir.
Advantage of Hydraulic Energy
Hydraulic energy is one of the oldest energies, and thanks to the advancement of technologies it has been possible to improve it to make it more efficient and sustainable. The advantages of hydropower are:
#1. Reduce dependency: It offers an excellent way to reduce dependence on external energy, since it can be produced in the country itself.
#2. Replace other fonts: One of the most important advantages of hydraulic energy is that it serves as a substitute for other more polluting sources to produce energy. It has enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce environmental pollution.
#3. It is renewable: It is obviously a renewable energy, since the energy is obtained from falling water and this, from rain, and they do not imply the depletion of this resource for energy production.
#4. Clean: Another advantage of hydropower is that it is clean energy. Its use does not produce residues of any kind and, therefore, there is no physical or chemical waste.
#5. Stability: Compared to other renewable energies, such as solar and wind energy , the production of electricity through hydropower is very stable. Although it depends on rainwater, the ability to store it through dams and reservoirs allows for management over time.
#6. Flexible: In addition to stability, hydraulic power is flexible and adaptable. This is because it allows to regulate the flow of water and the turbines generate the amount of energy necessary for each moment.
#7. Safe: Another advantage of hydropower is that it is safe. Besides not producing waste or polluting the air, it does not present the possibility of accidents.
#8. Low cost operation: Although the creation of hydraulic dams involves a high initial investment, once in operation, their costs are very low and the use of their resources is very efficient.