Hydraulic energy is that which makes use of kinetic energy (which is generated by movement) and potential (stored energy given the position of an object) from currents or waterfalls, or tides.
Hydraulic energy is usually generated from river flows which, in turn, come from rains and thaws.
There are several ways to take advantage of the water resource to generate energy. The main one is the construction of dams or dams, which are large structures that are intended to divert or retain water. Thus, for example, electricity is produced. This, through electric turbines, which are machines that produce a rotation from the fluids that pass through them, making an electric generator work.
It should be noted that hydraulic energy has existed for centuries, using river currents to move paddle wheels, starting mills or fulling mills.
Advantages and disadvantages of hydropower
Among the advantages of hydraulic energy are:
- It is a renewable energy source, since water is a resource that renews itself through its own cycle.
- It is a clean energy, since it does not generate pollution by greenhouse gases, as it does, for example, with the burning of fossil fuels.
- The water flow can be adapted to the electricity demand.
- The cost of this energy does not depend on the rise or fall of the prices of non-renewable energies, such as oil, which depends on the international environment.
- It can be used in a complementary way to other energy sources.
- The packages created to store water can be used to supply irrigation systems and to carry out recreational activities. In turn, the reservoirs allow the regulation of water currents, reducing the risk of flooding.
On the contrary, the disadvantages of hydropower are mainly the following:
- It can endanger the fish or aquatic species of the place where the dam is going to be built, that is, it can alter the aquatic ecosystem.
- The construction of large reservoirs can cover large areas. This may imply damage to the environment and / or the loss of land where agricultural activity could take place.
- It is a type of energy that can be affected by climatic phenomena, for example, if a drought occurs, the productivity of the hydroelectric power plant could fall.
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