Is Hydropower a Non-Renewable or Renewable Resource?

by Debashree Sen; Updated September 26, 2017
Center Hill Hydroelectric Dam, TN, USA

Hydropower, also called hydroelectric power, is the technique of harnessing the power of water to create electricity. It is the world’s leading source of renewable energy.

Production of Hydroelectricity

In a hydropower plant, a reservoir stores water at an elevation. A dam controls the flow of water which is made to rush through a turbine, thereby rotating the turbine blades. The turbine spins a generator to produce electricity.

The Renewable Nature

Hydropower is a renewable resource. The water that is used to power the turbines is not lost in the process. It can be reused over and over again to produce electricity. Also, water on the earth is continually replenished by rain and snow. Thus there will be no dearth of water on earth.

Benefits

Hydropower is a clean and green alternative to fossil fuels because hydro plants do not emit greenhouse gases and other pollutants. Moreover, generating electricity from water is cheap compared to non-renewable sources of energy such as coal (according to University of Colorado at Boulder). As an additional benefit, hydropower dams also provide a means of regulating water flow on rivers. This action controls flooding.

Downsides

Hydropower dams are responsible for altering nature's river systems. This affects plant and animal habitats, thereby creating a imbalance in the ecosystem.

Potential for the Future

There are large sources of untapped water resources which could be used to produce hydroelectric power around the world. More use of hydropower would reduce dependence on non-renewable sources of energy.

References

About the Author

Debashree Sen is a technical writer and has written for non-profit organizations. She has been regularly contributing to eHow since 2009. She is a member of the Society for Technical Communication (STC). She has a master's degrees in professional writing and English literature.

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