What would you change if you were told you had 12 years left to live?
While that might sound dramatic, it’s the exact question leading climate scientists are asking about the Earth. A research report released by the UN states that we have 12 years to slow our effect on global warming. After that, we could suffer catastrophic environmental consequences.
The biggest difference we can make is switching to clean energy. Fossil fuels contribute the bulk of greenhouse gasses into the environment. One of the benefits of hydropower, wind energy, and other alternative energy sources is that they can help turn back the clock on the demise of our planet.
Ready to learn why we need to invest in green energy like hydropower? Read on!
Benefits of Hydropower
Hydropower, or the power of water, is an infinite resource. Producing electricity via water power doesn’t use up water. Rather, it utilizes the running flow to generate energy.
Any type of hydropower is always replenished by rains and melting snows. This resource is earth-friendly and carries many benefits!
1. Combats Climate Change
Hydropower produces smaller and far less significant amounts of greenhouse gas compared to gas, coal, and oil. Switching to hydroelectric power would immediately begin to reduce the GHGs released into the atmosphere.
Only 33% of hydropower’s available potential has been utilized and developed. Even so, what does exist is already offsetting 4 billion metric tons worth of greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Improves Use of Renewable Energy Sources
Reservoirs for hydropower create a flexible energy source. The storage and harnessing of hydroelectric energy means it is a perfect supplement to other methods like solar or wind.
Should those common methods fail to meet demand? Hydropower can be a failsafe that immediately offers more energy to the power grid.
This flexibility makes it safer and more economical to rely on renewable energy as a whole. Even a string of cloudy or windless days would not tax the available reserve of energy, as hydropower creates an auxiliary system.
Hydroelectricity is more readily utilized than any other source. Because of this, hydropower can assist at moderating fluctuations in demand. In a blackout scenario, the rapid generation of waterpower can help recover service right away.
3. Stabilizes the Water Table
Hydropower plants assist with collecting rainwater, which protects against drought. These reservoirs can help prevent flooding and prevents local water table depletion.
Water reservoirs can serve as intermediary sources for irrigation or drinking water.
4. Stability and Domestic Availability
Unlike fossil fuels, water is a readily available domestic resource. Utilizing running rivers has no risk of pricing spikes due to market changes. Reducing the reliance on foreign imports of fuels creates an optimal environment for cost reduction and energy availability.
5. Inexpensive to Maintain
After the initial plant production costs, maintenance and operation of hydropower plants is very inexpensive. Hydropower water sources don’t need purification, alternation, or frequent replacement.
Because water is not being used up, production costs are virtually zero. There is no market price, so the costs do not fluctuate to shifts in demand the way barrels of oil might. The water supply replenishes naturally, for free, as rains come and snows melt.
Hydroelectric plants last for many decades and can be upgraded as technology advances. The oldest power plants in the country are over a hundred years old.
6. Impact on Air and Water Quality
Hydropower plants are free of air and water pollutants like the ones generated in fossil fuel production. Reducing the byproducts and toxins from power generation mitigates smog production, air pollution, and acid rain.
In combination with water treatment, water reservoirs can double as potable water and resources for hydroelectricity.
One of the disadvantages of hydro plants is that they can compromise the water oxygen levels, which can harm local aquatic habitats. Fortunately, technological advancements are allowing environmental scientists to develop solutions to this and other issues that can develop through hydropower use.
The Money Map Press goes into greater detail on the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric energy in this helpful article.
7. Time-Tested Production
Hydropower is the predominant renewable energy source in the world, accounting for about 16% of energy production. This technology has been in use for thousands of years. Hydroelectricity is always upgrading and evolving to be more efficient and reliable.
Many states already rely on hydroelectricity for the majority of their energy needs. Over 70% of the energy produced in Washington state is hydroelectric. Washington, Vermont, Idaho, and Oregon use hydropower for over 50% of their utility power.
Hydropower plants make up the oldest electricity-generating resources in the US. All 50 of the oldest plants in the country have been in service since 1908.
Go Green to Protect Our Future
Humans have done some major damage to the planet we call home. The clock is ticking on our ability to recover from irreversible climate change. Investing in the benefits of hydropower and other renewable energies can help.
Engage with your representatives and lawmakers to let them know how important sustainable energy is to your community. Unless we all start pitching in for a responsible future, we won’t have much of a planet left to protect. Scientists have given us 12 years to clean up our act, so it’s everyone’s job to invest in a greener tomorrow.
Want to know how you can make a difference in your own home? Big change starts in small ways. Check out our guide on how you can do your part for the environment and save some money at the same time.