Hydroelectric Power Facts

Hydroelectric Power Facts
Hydroelectric power is a form of renewable energy that is created by harvesting energy from the gravitational force of flowing or falling water. This type of power first began to be harvested in ancient times when people used it to grind flour and for other uses. Further development to harvest energy from falling or flowing water began in the 1700s and in the 1800s power stations began to open, and by 1886 there were 45 in the U.S. and Canada. In 1889 there were 200 already in operation in the United States. Today it is estimated that 20% of the electricity generated around the world is done with hydropower.
Interesting Hydroelectric Power Facts:
In the United States approximately 10% of the electricity used is generated by hydropower. Other forms of electricity are solar, wind, nuclear, natural gas, oil, and oil and gas.
The hydropower produced in the United States is enough to power the homes in Tennessee, Kentucky, South and North Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Some countries rely on hydropower more than others. Norway relies on hydropower for 99% of its needs, and New Zealand relies on hydropower for 75% of its needs.
Using hydroelectric power can save 22 billion gallons of oil each year. This is equal to 120 million tons of pollution-producing coal.
Unlike many other sources used to produce power, hydroelectric power does not produce air pollution or greenhouse gas. It doesn't produce any waste to be disposed of either.
The most efficient fossil fuel plants are only 50% efficient in creating energy, while the modern turbines used for hydroelectric power are 90% efficient in creating energy.
It is less expensive to produce hydroelectric power than it is to produce power with nuclear, fossil fuel, or even natural gas sources.
There are many dams in the United States that could be sources of energy if turbines were installed. Only 2,400 of the 80,000 dams are being used for hydropower.
In terms of renewable energy, hydroelectric power is the leading provider at 97.9% of all renewable sources. Solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal account for 2.1%.
Hydroelectric power generating methods include using dams, wind turbines, and generators, pumped storage, run-of-the-river systems, and tide power stations.
Some of the largest hydroelectric power stations in the world include Three Gorges Dam in China, Itaipu Dam in Brazil and Paraguay, Xiluodu in China, Guri in Venezuela, Tucuri in Brazil, Grand Coulee in the U.S., and Xiangjiaba in China.
In addition to the large hydroelectric power plants that provide power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses, there are smaller hydroelectric power plants as well.
Small hydroelectric power plants are classified as small, micro, and pico.
A small hydroelectric power plant generates up to 10 MW, but in Canada and the U.S. this limit is as high as 30 MW.
A micro hydroelectric power plant generates up to 100 kW. These are used for small communities or isolated homes.
A pico hydroelectric power plant generates less than 5 kW of power. These are used when very little power is required, often for a couple lights and radio for only a few homes.

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