An Introduction to Hydro Energy.
What is hydro energy?
Fossil fuel reserves have become seriously depleted but conversely our energy use is increasing year on year, our fossil fuel use is now far from being sustainable. Fossil fuels are also responsible for global warming because of the carbon dioxide that is produced with the use of coal power stations and other fossil fuel power stations. In order to stop a further decline in the environment and to replace non-renewable energy many different alternative power sources are being researched and implemented. One such renewable energy source is hydro energy and involves using water to turn turbines, which in turn generates electricity creating hydro energy. The theory is very similar to that of wind energy but instead of the wind turning the sails we use flowing water.
A brief history of hydropower.
The first ever water power station was in Godalming, England in 1881 introducing hydropower as a source of electricity. Previously water turbines had only been used for pumping and irrigation but that has changed significantly now. While some countries have yet to hydro power stations that are efficient and make any significant difference to their energy usage, New Zealand among other countries produce over 70% of its energy from hydro power stations.
Dams are built in order to create a man made waterfall; as the water falls it rotates a turbine thus converting the kinetic energy into a usable mechanical energy. This is then turned into electrical energy through the use of a generator. The amount of electricity is determined by how far the water falls and the average water flow; some dams provide enough power for up to 10,000 people so it really is an effective form of creating energy for our homes.