Pros and cons of water energy
As we know the energy from water is used to generate power or electricity. The water that has potential energy carries kinetic energy when it flows and this energy is converted into mechanical energy in the turbines and again it gets converted into electrical energy with the help of the generators. This is the basic process behind hydroelectric power production. So to produce this power we need to construct a power plant. Which has all the equipments like the dams to store water, pipelines to make the water flow, turbines to generate mechanical energy and generators to generate electricity finally power lines to carry the power generated. So a complete set up has to be put up for the production of power using the energy in water.
Water energy as such is pure, renewable and useful to the core to the society but the construction of power plants that is used for the extraction or conversion of that energy into electricity has some beneficial effects and non beneficial effects to the society. Let’s just analyze in what way they are useful and harmful to the people.
Pros of water energy
- Hydroelectric power plants are reliable because they can act fast during the time of heavy demands. The speed of the water that flows from the reservoirs can be controlled so during peak demands the water can be made to flow at a faster rate to generate more electricity. At times that can be also made to flow from greater heights so as the height and the speed increases automatically the power generation increases.
- The water in the reservoirs are also used for the public leisure activities like swimming, fishing etc. the water can also be used for irrigation purposes. The reservoirs stores large amount of water during the rains and floods and that water can be used during drought conditions.
- Water is the gift of nature. We get the main fuel water without any cost. So this is cost effective.
- The water in the reservoirs can be reuse. Only the energy from water is needed for the power generation so the actual amount of water remains the same even after using it many times.
- The availability of water can be predicted by weather forecast. So this is a predictable energy source.
Pros of water energy (continue)
- Power can be generated from water anytime throughout the year as it is available always in the reservoirs. This is a constant source of energy.
- The running cost and the maintenance cost of the hydropower plant is low when compared to other powerhouses as it does not rely on any other raw materials.
- As hydro power plants don’t use any fossil fuels nor burning of coal, wood happens, hydro power plants are pollutant free. The won’t pollute the environment as other power plants like nuclear power plants.
- The emission of greenhouse gases like toxic carbon dioxide is very low when compared to other power plants which are run by coal, oil or gas.
- As it doesn’t involve burning of fuels it is cost effective because of the rising price of the fuels in the market.
- It maintains the balance in the ecosystem.
- Hydropower plants help to beat the climatic change and also provide a good air to breathe.
- The lifetime of the power plants is also considerable good
As a coin has two sides everything also has some disadvantages though there are so many advantages of using water energy in hydro power plants there are some limitations. Let’s see that below.
Cons of Water Energy
- The main factor that means the initial factor that is the putting up cost is very high to afford.
- The water is a gift of nature so it depends on the nature i.e. it is hydrology dependent.
- The construction of dams, reservoirs and the other equipments set up requires a large space. In some cases the people in the place or village are made and forced to vacant their habitats and move to other places for living. The flora and wildlife also get affected.
- The dams collect the water from the streams which mean the fishes in the streams and the rivers also have the possibility to get affected.
- The migration of the fishes gets completely affected. Some fishes actually migrate to the sea water for reproduction and some sea fishes sail back to the rivers for reproduction because of the dams these species gets either killed or the production cycle gets disturbed and delayed.
Cons of Water Energy (continue)
- Sedimentation also occurs as the river water carries the sediments which are fine clay particles gets accumulated in the dams and pose a great threat to the life span of the dams.
- The breaking or clearing of dams which are not useful is also not possible because of the threat that the villages in the valley area may get affected by floods.
- The transmission loss is also high. The power generated is fed into the power line so that it carries the power to the households. Almost 40% loss has been recorded.
- Even though the quantity of water remains the same there occurs a quality change in the water which may harm some crops when used for agricultural purposes.
- Methane a strong greenhouse gas gets emitted from the decay of the plants surrounding the dams as they are always filled with water. Which pollutes the environment at a greater rate.
Thus there are many advantages and disadvantages in using water energy for power generation. Research is still going on in many area to overcome the disadvantages and provide a neat and clean environment and energy.
Other types of Water Energy