Hydroelectric energy is the most commonly-used renewable source of electricity.
Approximately 71 percent of all of the renewable electricity generated on Earth is from hydropower.
It is the energy produced by harvesting the power from running water and selling it to you at a reasonable price. There are several ways of doing that, yet the main scheme is the same.
You take the water, you make it go through a turbine, it spins the fancy magnets and creates a flow of electrons, which are then transformed into electricity and pumped into your phones faster than you say she sells seashells on the seashore.
You can do this by diverting a piece of a river into a special canal and using the kinetic energy of the water. I use the word canal to draw your attention to the fact that it was build by humans, because if you divert the whole river, you are bound to destroy everything nature has planned for you. As if we haven’t done enough of that already.
The other way is to build a dam.
It turns out, that not only are they cool, like the Hoover Dam (2080 MW), but also very efficient - with this big buddy producing a lot of electricity every day.
The water is also going through a turbine, but at a higher speed, since it is amplified by potential energy, which is called that because it has the guts to go down through the turbine with the help of gravity and turn into electricity, giving you the opportunity to browse memes whenever you want.
The higher the dam, the more energy you get.
The coolest benefit this renewable has is its operational flexibility. As you may know, the demand for electricity is not constant - that is because you sleep at night and don’t use it that much. That leads us to a special tweak called pumped storage, a reservoir, which allows to reuse some water more than once. While the demand is low, some water is flowed back up to a storage pool and when there is a pressing need for MORE power, it is allowed to go through the turbine once more.
In a matter of minutes, it can give enough energy to supply the rising demand. Other energy sources like coal or nuclear, are not as fast in this regard.
Moreover, it is cheap to operate, can be in service for up to a hundred years. Yet, it is expensive to build in the first place.
And it is also very clean in terms of greenhouse gasses. Oh, I know you love that. The amount of those is really small, especially compared to you know who. (Coal gas petroleum), yeah, even less than solar plants.
And you know what? Unlike those guys, the hydro stations, big surprise, consume no water!
Alright, it is very efficient, clean, and awesome looking. Let’s take a look at how much available global hydroelectric potential has been developed.
Make a guess - 33%? 52? 78?
That right! It’s 33!
Wait, what? That doesn’t make any sense.
Ah, let’s take those rose-tinted glasses off. It seems that this type of such complexes can lead to mishaps like loss of arable land, disruption of natural ecology, there is also some methane being generated by the plants in the reservoir (more about methane here).
Yet, Humans upgrade them as much as they can, making both the fish and other humans happy.
And it is not an excuse not to support the development of hydroelectricity.
Of course, there can be some unexpected results from such experiments. For instance take a look at the Merowe Dam in Sudan. It generates electricity, alright, yet the creation of this reservoir lake will increase the amount of the evaporation losses, because, big surprise - it is super hot in Sudan. And these losses correspond with about 8% of the total amount of water, that Sudan gets by the Nile Water Treaty. That’s a lot!
By the way, you can check my travel diaries from Sudan on my Patreon channel - you are gonna love them. (https://www.patreon.com/user?u=48890576).
China is the largest producer of hydroelectricity with this awesome, sorry, gorgeous dam 22 GW. Keep in mind, that nowadays only four facilities can produce over 10 GW. Other top players are the United States, Brazil, Canada, India, and Russia.
It was fun talking to you about Hydroenergy, I am going to cover more renewables in other videos, so don’t forget to subscribe (and don’t forget about the Patreon, it’s so cool).
There is a lot of controversy regarding this whole sustainability agenda, and it is extremely difficult to go through this dark and treacherous forest filled with lies from all sides, while looking for the truth. I invite you to join me on this journey of learning more about these topics together.