Hydroelectricity pros and cons
Controversy over alternative energy (part 1)
Hydroelectricity is a good alternative energy source to fossil fuel (wood, coal, natural gas, and oil) for the environment. Hydro-power produces a 100 times fewer greenhouse gases than coal-fired power plants. It's called hydroelectricity and it's the most popular clean energy source in the world and it counts for 16% of the world's production, but well behind fuel fossil energy production. It's an affordable energy source and it's easy to stock electricity, compared to solar panels or wind power turbines. Those technologies need batteries to stock electricity, hydroelectricity not, it's a water reservoir and you just open the van when you need to have electricity. It's a renewable energy source as long as you have the water supply.
Hydroelectricity and evaporation water supply
One of the major problems of hydroelectric water retaining dams in hot countries like Egypt and Namibia in Africa is the stagnation of water and its evaporation. In Egypt 10 cubic kilometers of water is lost to evaporation each year: that's 12% to 18% of the Nil water. The champion in Africa is in Namibia whose one of its dams dispense 14 millions cubic kilometers of water and loose 45 millions cubic of water each year due to evaporation, no question it's for sure more than its production of electricity.
Hydro-power Greenhouse gases debate Some say hydro-power doesn't emit carbon dioxide or just a few. At Hydro-Quebec their numbers say that it's a clean energy source and it produces the same quantity of green-gases in kWh than wind power turbines and 4 times less than solar panels technology at their fabrication. In fact in 2009 in Quebec, thanks to hydro-power, the electricity sector accounts for only 0,6% of GHG emissions. The transportation sector accounts for the most with 44%.
But others say the opposite, hydro-power plants are emitting GHG indirectly. Their point is that when they have built the hydro dams they usually completely flood large areas of lands, full of trees, biomass and other variety of organic stuff. After the flood, the soil organic vegetation and sediments start to decompose, rut and emit methane. This decomposition produces methane which is at least 34 times more potent as other greenhouse gases. Some experts say that hydroelectricity contributes to 4% of greenhouse gases pollution emitted every year in the world. It's also said that hydroelectricity pollutes more than the aviation industry on this planet.
Hydroelectricity and the environmental impact
Hydroelectricity is also linked to disrupting aquatic ecosystems. It interferes with aquatic life and results in huge scale devastation. With that, also it leads to water stagnation. Stagnant water is when water stops to flow and it can be a major environmental hazard, a breeding ground for mosquitoes and parasites, an incubator for many kinds of bacteria and diseases and illnesses like malaria and dengue fever in hot countries where the temperature is ideal for it. Hydro-power plant dams are usually built across rivers to stock large bodies of water in a basin. The water loses is good proprieties, lose oxygen, sediments start to build, water stagnated and that's very bad for the ecosystems and the environment. It had been found that a lot of individuals, fishes, and others aquatic animals will perish in there by the lack of oxygen and impossibility to reproduce in their native habitats. There is a huge probability also that the fish and other aquatic creatures will find a way into the penstock pipes then to the turbines and get exterminated.
Renewable energy debate
Hydroelectricity may not be the perfect alternative energy source and the answer to all of our environmental problems. If greenhouse gases are our big concern and the control of global warming our first priority today, hydroelectricity is maybe not the final solution for to save the environment and the planet.
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