is electricity produced from falling water, a renewable energy that keeps the world’s electricity needs in balance. Hydro electricity generated 16.6% of the world’s total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity in 2016 and is expected to consistently grow throughout the future.
Hydroelectricity is one of Ontario’s lead renewable resources, it accounts for more than one-third of Ontario Power Generation’s electricity production, the main advantages of this resource is its low production costs, reliability, flexibility to meet both ongoing base electricity needs and peak demands, and its reliance on water; an indigenous, renewable resource. A few other key pros of this resource is that once the power or electricity is produced the water is returned to its point of origin, making it a very eco-friendly renewable energy resource. Another key pro is the dams consistently and the fact it’s always producing. The dam can be running all day and all night for maximum efficiency and sheer amount of energy processed. Lastly, the dams can shut their flood gates if you will in case of shortage of water or the water being at high demand at that certain time period.
All of these positives taken into account hydroelectricity does have some negative aspects to take into account. Firstly, Emissions of methane and carbon dioxide. The reservoir of power releases many harmful toxins with the area. This is mostly created from the rotting trees and plants in the drop off point for the water. Secondly, the dam creates a major disturbance of habitat, the creation of the dam alone destroys and cripples many organism’s habitats in the area as well as people having to relocate. Lastly, the creation of the dam can create many agriculture problems, the dam can affect the amount, quality and temperature of water that flow in streams which has drastic effects on agriculture and drinking water.
How it works
Hydroelectric generating stations are in essence factories that convert the energy of falling water into a flow of electrons called electricity. Water at the higher level is collected in the forebay. It flows through the station’s intake into a pipe, called a penstock, which carries it down to a turbine. The turbine is a type of water wheel that is connected to a generator. As the water flows down the penstock the water pressure increases. It is this pressure and flow that causes the turbine to revolve which in turn spins a generator.
Inside the generator are large electromagnets attached to a rotor located within a coil of copper wires called the stator. As the generator rotor spins the magnets a flow of electrons is created in the coils of the stator. This produces electricity that can be stepped up in voltage through the station’s transformers and sent across transmissions lines. The falling water, having served its purpose, exits the generating station through what is called the tailrace, where it rejoins the main stream of the river.
Hydroelectricity has many pros that in my opinion weighs outs its cons, the stats that this renewable resource has made make it both efficient as well as eco-friendly which not many other alternative energy sources can say.