Hydroelectric Energy Essay

3406 words - 14 pages

Hydroelectric Energy
Hum432 Professor Robinson/Nightwine
Laurena Wires

History of Hydropower
Since the commencement of time, water has been a vital necessity to mankind. As time progressed through the early ages of civilizations, the need to consider water as a basic need has stayed the same. Instead it has developed tremendously. This is due to the continuous growth in population throughout the planet. Since it was first invented, hydro- powered electricity has played a critical role in the improvements made by mankind. This will therefore help us in advancing for many generations to come.
Humans have settled in a location with an available source of water, such as a river, a lake ...view middle of the document...

The process in which a hydro-electric power plant functions involves a couple of steps. The initial step is whereby the dam contains water back and stores water upstream in a reservoir, or large artificial lake. After which the Gates open on the dam, letting gravity to tug the water down through the penstock. An intake conduit moves water from the reservoir to turbines inside the powerhouse. Pressure accumulates as water runs through the pipeline. The water then collides with the large blades of the turbine, causing them to turn. The generator is positioned above the vertical blades and is connected to the blades through a shaft. The turbine blades go at the same time with a series of magnets inside the generator. The large magnets revolve past copper coils, producing an alternating current (AC).Finally the transformer inside the powerhouse carries the AC and changes it to higher-voltage current so as to let electricity to flow to customers. The production of electricity will depend on the amount or the rate of electricity production, which is reliant upon the upward distance of the water being harnessed into the plant. Another factor that could affect the rate of electrical production would be the amount of flowing water in volume as compared to time; in other words how many cubic meters can be generated per second. This means that an efficient power plant requires a good amount of upward distance to the water source.
Hydro Electrical Power and its impact to society
For generations now, hydroelectric power has been one of the oldest methods that has brought us electricity through the use of water as a power source. One example of this is by using a man-made structure built across the river called a Dam. It produces hydroelectric energy when water passes through the Dam’s turbine and down to the river. A turbine has a propeller that when it turns allows an electric generator to produce electricity that people use on a daily basis.
Hydro power does not only give us massive supply of energy, but it also has more beneficial impacts to our society. Hydro power plays a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since dams use water as its primary source, it does not contribute to air pollution unlike that of burning fuel, coal, and oil. The use of these limited resources does not even come into play since the source for hydro power is water. It is renewable through evaporation and precipitation which automatically refills the dam through natural cycle. Although hydropower brings us a lot of these advantages, it is not perfect; it also brings harm within our environment. Hydropower facilities can have large environmental impacts by changing the environment and affecting land use, homes, and natural habitats in the dam area (USGS, 2011).
Most hydroelectric power plants have a dam and a reservoir. These structures may obstruct fish migration and affect their populations (Ontario Power generation, 2011). Local family’s that consumes fish...

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