Hydro electric power at work
Hydro electric power is the most widely used form of renewable energy. According to Wiki Pedia It supplies 19% of the world’s energy. Brazil gets 80 percent of all their electricity from it. The United States currently ranks 4th in hydro electric output. China is number one, then Canada, then Brazil then us. 7 percent of renewable energy comes from this.
It was first used by the Greeks to turn water wheels for grinding wheat into flour more than 2000 years ago. In 1880 Michigan’s Grand Rapids Electric light and Power Company generated electricity with a dynamo belted to a water turbine at the Wolverine chair factory. It lit up 16 brush arc lamps. Then in 1881 Niagara Falls city street lamps were powered like this too.
By 1920 25% of the US electrical generation was by hydroelectric. By 1940’s 40% was generated. Unfortunately today only 7% of our electricity comes from hydro electric according to the Department of energy.
Hydro electric power converts flowing water to electricity. Most hydro electric plants rely on a dam that holds back water to create a large reservoir or lake. Gates on the dam open and gravity pulls the water down a pipeline that builds pressure to turn a turbine. This turbine is connected by a shaft to a generator than produces electricity.
An example of a hydro electric plant is the Hoover Dam. It is located 30 miles south east of Las Vegas. It was completed in 1935 and cost 49 million dollars. The output of this Dam is 2,080 mega watts That’s enough for 2 million homes.
The advantages of hydro electric are these. It is the most efficient renewable energy we currently use. It can be up to 90% efficient. Plus the water is not destroyed by passing thru dam. They also produce inexpensive and clean power. Dams can also store rain water or water directly. Then in case of a drought, the dam will have a consistent supple of water.
Dams are a simple concept to build with low technology . This makes for very few break downs. A simple design also makes for inexpensive repairs and low maintenance costs. If needed, hydro electric plants can be turned off instantly, where fossil fuel plants take hours and nuclear plants take days.
The downside of hydro power is this. For good power production it requires flooding of entire valleys and scenic areas. It also disrupts the natural seasonal change in the river and the ecosystem can be destroyed. Rivers clog because the silt is blocked from running down to the beaches. During a drought hydro electric plants may become useless or produce much less power that planned.
If a dam ever breaks it produces a huge flash flood. There can be large amount of green house gases produced from the decaying plants after flooding an area. It also creates a large reservoir that destroys the local community already by the river. Dams are more of a large scale project. They do not work well for individuals to power your home or business.
Hydro electric power can be a great thing. It produces lots of cheap clean renewable energy. However In the US it has hit some snags. The amount of green house gases created from flooding can be more than a fossil fuels power plant. In the last few years it has been difficult to built large scale projects.
Environmentalists and the local people living where a dam could be build have fought hard to keep them down. The focus has been on smaller dams that produce electricity for local small communities instead of massive dams that could power a whole state.
This technology is limited to needing at least 10 feet of height to generate enough pressure to make electricity. These systems might only produce 400 to 700 watts at a cost of $2500 – $8000. This can be difficult to set up if you do not have the right conditions. There is no way to set this up if you do not have a river or creek running though your back yard.
A better may to make power is with magnets. These systems can be over 100% efficient with no pollution. This technology is real and being suppressed. Please look around on this website. There are lots of great working examples.
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