By Landon Roberts, Zach Thornbury, J.P. Prince, and Zeke Slusher
Hydro means water, which means hydroelectricity is water created electricity. Hydroelectricity doesn't mean the water is magically converted to electricity, its the waters momentum that is used to make electricity. 7% of electricity all the electricity in the USA is from hydroelectricity.
How Dams work
Dams are the most common thing that produce hydroelectricity. The way it works is first the gates open up allowing water to flow into large tubes called penstocks. Once the fast moving water reaches the bottom of the penstocks, it spins the turbines that are connected to a generator and produces electricity. Then the electricity is transported via huge transmission lines to local utility company
Advantages & Disadvantages
- Generating electricity with hydropower is the cheapest way to generate electricity.
- Hydro-plants are very energy efficient
- Hydropower is cheap because the flowing water is free and deposited right back into the reservoir.
- Hydro-plants burn no fuel like most other plants.
- Hydro-plants create many jobs through maintenance and other jobs on the hydro-plant site
- Damages river systems and wildlife habitats
- Fish may not be able to swim upstream
- It could also change the water's temperature
- If the dam somehow broke it would cause tons of death and destruction
History in the US
- In 1882, the first hydroelectric power plant began operation in Appleton, Wisconsin.
- About 45 hydroelectric plants were in Canada and the United States.
- In 1907 hydropower provided 15% of US electric production.
- In 1920 hydropower provided 25% of the US electric production.
- in 1940 hydropower proved 40% of the US electric production
- Today about 6-8% of US' electricity comes hydropower
Real Life Examples
- Three Gorges Dam
- Hoover Dam
- Niagara Falls
- Churchill Falls
- Barkley Dam
- Wolf Creek Dam
- Kentucky Dam