Hydropower as an Alternative Energy Source

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Hydropower as an Alternative Energy Source

Water provides a very valuable resource. We use dams built to run water through turbines and produce electricity. There are many advantages and disadvantages to hydropower, though there are more advantages. It is reasonable inexpensive to maintain, and is a clean source. There are issues with dams blocking fish swimming in the river, but there are ways to help them. Hydropower is well balanced between the electricity needs and the needs of the environment.

Hydropower makes up 90 percent of the United States’ energy from a renewable source. It is the nation’s largest renewable resource. People have built dams since ancient times to control the water. Waterwheels have been used for centuries to help people with their everyday needs, and now they can be used to produce electricity. Many large dams worldwide have turbines (modern day waterwheels), which produce large amounts of energy. These dams account for 40 percent of all energy produced by hydropower (Nersesian, 290).

When a dam is built a reservoir collects behind it, which also collects rainwater. The reservoir allows us to control the amount of water that flows through the dam and lets us still have a steady flow of water, even during years with less rainfall. The dam itself has spillways to control the amount of water leaving the dam. One major problem with dams is the affect they have on migrating fish traveling up and down the rivers. Many dams have special fish ladders to allow the fish to pass through (Today, 2001).

Of course the biggest advantage of hydropower is that it is renewable. Also it is clean, meaning it does not throw a lot of chemicals into the air and it does not produce any waste. Hydropower can also be produc...

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...earch.atomz.com). At the moment only 3 percent of the nation’s 80,000 dams are producing hydropower (Today, 2001). If we could install more turbines into dams then we could rely more on hydropower then other more damaging resources. Over all water has the potential to become a crucial source of power.


Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydropower. (2005). Retrieved July 30, 2007, from


A Short Course in Hydro Sciences. (2004). Retrieved July 29, 2007, from


Hydropower Today. (2001). Retrieved July 30, 2007, from


Nersesian, R. L. (2007). Biomass. In Energy for the 21st Century: A

Comprehensive guide to conventional and alternative sources (pp. 290-297).

United States of America: M.E. Sharpe.

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