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Renewable energy (about Hydropower) - Essay Example

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Hydropower is the energy which is generated from the force of moving water. Some of the hydropower stations operate on the potential energy stored in the water due to its height whereas other hydropower stations operate on the high velocity of flowing water…
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Renewable energy (about Hydropower)
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Download file to see previous pages The development of hydropower turbines and dams took place in the late 19th century and hydropower became a major source of electricity by the start of the industrial revolution [1]. Hydropower has not been developed in the Middle East mainly because of the scarcity of water resources in most of the countries in this region of the world. However countries like Iraq, Syria and Egypt have constructed hydropower projects on the few rivers which flow through the country. The cheap and easy availability of fossil fuels is also a major cause of the lack of development of the hydropower sector in the region. The changing climatic conditions have also affected the development of hydropower in the Middle East because the declining quantity of water in the rivers consequently the contribution of hydropower to the overall electricity generation is on the declining trend. Hydropower contributed 70% to the generated electricity of Egypt in 1970 but the percentage have fallen to less than 10% in the recent years, same is the case with other Middle Eastern countries. The research and publication in hydropower is being carried out by various research institutes, most notable of which are China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research, Institute of Energy Research of US, United Nations Development Program and the World Bank [2]. The most noteworthy advantage of hydropower is the rapid payback and the low cost involved in generation. The initial costs are high and the setup time is relatively long for the dams and connected power plants which can be designed to give high power generation capacities. Once built, the dam can produce huge amount of electrical power with virtually no running costs. The only costs involved are the operation and maintenance expenses of the power plant and civil infrastructure. The running costs range between five to ten percent of the cost of generated power. Other renewable energy resources such as solar and wind require huge initial investment and greater running costs for the same amount of power generated by hydroelectric power plants. A remarkable example in this regard is the hydroelectric power generation in China which has grown a great degree in the recent years supporting the ever increasing demands of the developing industry. The cheap electricity produced through hydroelectric plants generates further resources for the installation of new power plants. Since the economic and industrial growth of a country is directly dependent on its energy production, hydropower can have a large impact on economic and industrial growth [3]. Another important advantage which these hydroelectric power plants provide is the flexibility of operation. The power plants normally have a starting time of five to ten minutes compared to more than twenty four hours for a fossil fuel fired power plant. The hydroelectric power plants and related dam structure are mostly designed to comprise of multiple small generating units rather than one large unit. This provides the freedom to vary the generation according to the load while the extra energy (possessed by the flowing water of the river) can be stored in the water storage. Moreover, the dam is provided with a spill way which can be used to allow extra water to bypass the power plant and flow back to the river. Hydroelectric power plants have minimum environmental impact when in use. The environmental impact on the ecology of an area can be significant and need thorough analysis and feasibility assessment. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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