I'll bet you don't know what hydroelectric power is. Hydroelectric power is electricity that is created by water. Almost all water power is used to create electricity.
Here is a little history about hydroelectric power. It has been used for centuries! It is a good source of energy because water is a natural resource that is renewable. This means we'll never run out of it.
One way to harness water power is through dams. Hydro dams are usually made of concrete, and they can be very large. Hydro dams are simple. They are built in front of a large body of water so that the water will flow into the intake and then into a penstock. Once there, the water flows against the blades on a turbine. When that happens, the blades turn. Through the turning of the turbine a generator is turned, thus creating electricity.
Most of the time hydroelectric plants are built along with thermal power plants. Thermal power plants burn fuel to produce electricity. The reason
they build both types of power plants together is so there will be a steady supply of
electricity in case the hydroelectric plant is affected by drought.
Water power can be used anywhere there is running water such as rivers or streams. So except for deserts or very dry areas, hydroelectric power can be used anywhere on the face of the earth. Hydroelectric power has been used for centuries around the world because water is a natural resource and is easy to come by. Scientists estimate the world's water power has the potential to create 2 1/4 billion kilowatts of electric power. However, only about 600 million kilowatts is actually developed. One sixth of the world's developed water power is in the United States. The rest has mainly been developed in Canada and Europe. Water power is just starting to be developed in Asia, Latin America, and Africa.
The Aswan High Dam is a dam the size of seventeen Great Pyramids of Giza. This huge dam is located on the Nile River in Egypt. It is 2.3 miles or 3.7 kilometers long and is 364 feet or 111 meters high. There is an important thing the dam does; it controls floods and helps to stop damage to the homes along the Nile River. It also provides a steady supply of water for irrigation.
Mexico has many opportunities for U.S. hydropower trade. There are more than 500,000 MW (megawatts) of hydropower potential, and about 10,000 MW of installed capacity in Mexico. Much work needs to be done to improve upon this resource. US hydropower companies are working to partner with several small projects in Mexico.
The largest hydroelectric power plant in the entire world is located on the Parana River on the border between Brazil and Paraguay. It is called the Itaipu plant. It can produce up to 13 million kilowatts of power.
|Global Warming| |Too Much Trash| |Water Pollution & Conservation| |Deforestation| |Electricity & Fossil Fuels| |Solar Energy| |Rainwater Harvesting| |Biofuels| |Tidal Power| |Wind Power| |Water Power|
"The Aswan Dam." Searchasaurus.
February 20 2007
“Chapter 12: Hydro Power.” Energy Quest.
15 February 2007 <http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/index.html>.
“Hydroelectric.” Powering the World. 15 February 2007<http://library.thinkquest.org/17531/hydro.html#used>.
“Hydropower” Wikipedia. February 15 2007 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydropower>.
"Project Partnering and Identification of Market Opportunities and Policy Input in Mexico." US Hydropower Council for International Development. 21 March 2007 <http://www.us-hydropower.org/USH_News_Page.htm>.
Singh, Vijay P. "Water Power." World Book Online Reference Center. 2007.
15 March 2007 <http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar594360>.
Permission to use all of the photographs on this page of: diagram of hydroelectric dam and Aswan Dam is granted under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page> (February, 2007).
Return to top of page