The world uses energy from many different sources, such as: hydroelectric power, nuclear power plants, solar energy, and wind generated power. There are positive and negative aspects of each source, but which source of energy is best? What are the environmental effects of generating power with water versus these other alternatives of nuclear power plants, solar, and wind power?.
Hydroelectric power is currently the world's largest renewable source of electricity. It accounts for six percent of the worldwide energy supply or about fifteen percent of the world's electricity. In Canada alone hydroelectric power provides sixty percent of their electrical needs. .
Hydroelectric power plants such as the Hoover Dam, used in the United States, convert kinetic energy contained in falling water into electricity. This form of energy is the most common form of renewable energy in use today. The energy in flowing water is ultimately derived from the sun; therefore, it is constantly being renewed.
Since moving water in 1882 first produced electricity, hydroelectric power has continued to play a major role in the expansion of electrical service. Contemporary hydroelectric power plants generate enough energy to supply a single residence, up to a large city. .
Hydroelectric power plants don't emit atmospheric pollutants such as carbon dioxide or sulfur dioxide, given off by fossil fuel power plants. They also do not contribute to global warming or acid rain, associated with burning coal, oil, or natural gas. They also don't result in risks of radioactive contamination like nuclear power plants do. .
Building dams for hydroelectric plants can also generate many benefits. Local communities benefit from industrial developments that provide capital for new economic development. It indirectly impacts communities because employees working on the project invest in housing for them and their families.