Is hydropower renewable or not? - With VIDEOS

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The surface of the Earth is made up of approximately 70% water. Water is a very important element for the life of living beings and the functioning of the planet, without it we could not live. But, did you know that water can generate energy? Yes, we can generate energy from it and in a more beneficial way than you might think at first.

If you want to know more about hydraulic energy or hydroelectric energy, because with it we get electricity, keep reading this article by Ecologist Verde in which we reveal a very frequent question in this area: Is hydropower renewable or not? The advantages and disadvantages of this and more interesting facts will also be shown here.

What is hydraulic energy

Hydraulic energy is one of the oldest energies and thanks to technology it has undergone great changes and advances over the years.

This energy is generated thanks to water movement that occurs in rivers and reservoirs. The water makes a turbine that generates electrical energy and this goes directly to the electrical network. There are two types of hydroelectric plants:

  • Flowing water hydroelectric plants.
  • Hydroelectric plants at the foot of the dam.

For more information you can read this other article on What is hydraulic energy and examples.

Is hydropower renewable or not?

YES, hydropower is a renewable energyThis means that it is impossible for it to be exhausted since it is replenished with rain and thaw. Hydropower is the most widely used throughout the world, although it is true that the development of solar energy and wind energy, little by little, are becoming sources of renewable energy of particular importance. Learn more about renewable energies: advantages and disadvantages here and in this other link learn about renewable and non-renewable energies: examples and summary.

Now that it has been clarified that hydropower is renewableNext we will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of hydropower and data worldwide.

Advantages of hydropower

Next, the main advantages of hydropower:

  • Renewable energy: As we have already mentioned, it is an energy that can always be used, that is, it is inexhaustible. This is because the resource used to generate it, water, comes from rain and thaw when the warm season begins.
  • Reusable: the same water that has been used to generate energy can be reused.
  • Its production is flexible: Depending on the energy demand that is needed, a greater or lesser quantity can be produced. The hydroelectric power plants are located under the reservoirs, which is where the water accumulates. By having the water stored in the reservoirs, it can be disposed of as needed.
  • Stable: Compared to solar or wind energy that depends on the climatic conditions that are taking place at the moment, hydraulic energy is a more stable energy since it does not depend on whether it is raining or not, thanks to the accumulated water in the reservoirs.
  • Economic: the cost to generate electricity from this energy is really low with a global average cost of 0.05 US / kWh[1].
  • Safe: This energy is to a great extent respectful with the environment as it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases and to obtain it, no waste is generated. Also bear in mind that the natural resource used, being inexhaustible, does not generate an impact on the environment.

Disadvantages of hydropower

Hydraulic energy, despite being renewable and having many advantages, also shows some disadvantages that do not make it possible to take full advantage of it. These are the main disadvantages of hydropower:

  • Environmental impact: Although it is a renewable energy and this helps to ensure that it is not harmful to the environment, it really does have negative environmental consequences since large spaces are needed to build hydroelectric plants. The construction of these plants is detrimental to the ecosystems and the living beings that inhabit it, such as plants and animals. In addition, there is a deterioration in the physical-chemical quality of the water.
  • Prolonged drought: We use water to generate this type of energy, although it is true that it is renewable and does not depend on daily rainfall, it could be affected in a prolonged drought. A drought would reduce the contributions of water to the reservoirs, with the consequence of not being able to be used for the generation of energy.
  • Water priority: In some regions with a water deficit, they prioritize the use of water for livestock and agricultural activities and for supplying populations. Therefore, in regions with less accumulation of water in reservoirs, the use of water to generate energy does not develop or does not reach its maximum potential.
  • Location of hydroelectric plants: They are usually in areas far from places of consumption, such as towns, that is why methods are necessary to carry energy from one place to another, resulting in the loss of energy and an impact on the environment.

To expand this information, we recommend this other article by Green Ecologist on the Advantages and Disadvantages of hydropower.

Hydraulic power worldwide

Although it is true that hydraulic energy has some disadvantages, the advantages it presents are greater, that is why it is still used to generate electrical energy. Within the renewable energy, Worldwide, hydropower is the one that generates the most electricity in the world with almost 67%. This energy is contributing to the fulfillment of the Paris Agreement, thus curbing the acceleration of climate change and contributing to sustainable development.

If you want to read more articles similar to Is hydropower renewable?, we recommend that you enter our category of Renewable Energies.

  1. Holzer, Ovid. (2022) Situation of hydropower worldwide 2022. Energy Economics:
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