How the Hydropower industry functions?
Hydropower the largest renewable energy source deals with the generation of power through water forces. It is used to derive electricity (hydroelectricity) thus enabling its use for irrigation purposes as well as running mechanical devices. Hydropower accounts for nearly 18% to 20% of electricity generation. China happens to be the largest producer of hydroelectricity, followed by Brazil and Canada. Egyptians were the first to use hydropower for irrigation purpose. Dams are the most frequently used technique of production of electricity from hydropower, which are constructed across the large rivers.
Three Gorges dam, Itaipu, Robert – Bourassa, Laxiwa dam, Church will falls, Tarbela dam, Ertan dam, Hover dam, Tehri dam, Nurek dam, Niagara falls and Aswan are few of the top hydro electric power stations in the world.
The drivers behind the hydropower industry include – reduction in greenhouses gases, low operating costs, it’s renewable, low maintenance costs, storage of energy and causes minimal pollution. The challenges in this industry include – hamper the fish habitat, displace of local communities, requires high investments, planning approvals are time consuming and requires a long list of approvals. Hydropower is depends mostly on changes in precipitation and elevation.
Hydropower is the only large scale and economical means of storage technology available in the present times. The types of hydroelectricity includes conventional hydroelectric, run of the river hydroelectricity, small hydro, micro hydro and pumped storage hydroelectricity.
A hydropower plant uses a storage reservoir that generates electricity when needed. Hydropower plants sometimes use pumped storage systems. Through these storage systems the water that flows is used to generate electricity after which it is stored in a lower pool. Depending on the requirement, the water gets pumped back to the upper pool. Majority of the current pumped storage capacity is situated in Japan, Europe and the United States. The top countries that utilize hydroelectricity are China, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Venezuela and Sweden. The top five European countries that use hydro electricity are Austria, Latvia, Sweden, Romania and Slovenia.
Globally the hydropower energy industry will continue to contribute significantly to the global demand for electricity. In the next decade the hydropower market is expected to grow significantly due the rise in demand. The growth opportunities lie in the developing regions, which remain highly underutilized. Emerging economies like Latin America and Asia have now become key markets for the development of hydropower. Hydroelectric power has a vital role to play in the future by providing quite a number of benefits to an integrated electric system.