Top Benefits of Hydropower (Waterpower)

Climate and environment blog

A tribute to the hydropower

Fossil-free electricity – No arts, just nature itself

Hydropower enables us to extract electricity directly from the water’s natural cycle when it suits us. Since we can store water in reservoirs and adapt power generation to electricity needs, hydropower is adjustable, which allows for the expansion of other renewable energy sources.

With the help of hydropower, we have been able to develop one of the world’s best electricity systems, a global model for many other countries in the world. It could be seen that hydropower is our own natural superpower, which will continue to supply us with electricity for future electricity-driven innovations.

An ancient force of nature

Man has harnessed the power of rushing water to extract energy since ancient times. In Southern Europe and China, water wheels have been used to, for example, mill grain for more than 2,000 years.

Hydropower has many advantages. It causes almost no emissions of greenhouse gases and at the same time provides reliable electricity at a competitive price. Since the water used in the power plant is not consumed but constantly comes back in the form of rainfall, the hydropower is also renewable.

Hydropower supplies us with both basic and regulating power

Electricity cannot be stored to any great extent today. Instead, at each moment we must produce exactly the amount of electricity we need. Keeping the exact balance between supply and demand is not the easiest.

Due to nature’s condition, the supply of electricity varies. In order for us to have access to the electricity we need, even when our electricity needs change, two things are needed: a stable base power and sufficient regulatory power that can adjust electricity production when our need for electricity changes. Hydropower gives us both.

Together with nuclear power, hydropower forms the basis of the electricity system, a stable foundation that ensures that we have a stable, high-quality electricity supply. Hydropower also has the advantage of being controllable. The water used in the power plants is stored in reservoirs and can be used as needed. In this way, hydroelectric power works as a huge natural electricity reserve, where there is both a cold winter evening when the electricity demand is extra high as well as a quiet summer day when the wind turbines do not spin.

Hydropower is only becoming more important

In order for the electricity system to be able to supply high-quality electricity in all situations, it is necessary that all types of energy interact with each other. It is required that in all situations we have the right balance between stable base power, adaptable control power, and weather dependent power types. This balance becomes even more important to maintain as our electricity demand increases, which it does as society is digitized, more innovative solutions are developed, and other sectors are electrified.

The greater our electricity demand, the greater our need for regulatory power. As the proportion of wind power in our electricity system increases, our need to be able to regulate electricity generation increases so that our needs are met – regardless of the weather.

This means that hydropower is becoming increasingly important the greater part of our electricity generation that comes from renewable sources.

High time to pay tribute to hydropower

It is great that we can use the water’s natural cycle to heat our houses, illuminate our streets and cool our food. The heat of the sun causes water on the ground, in lakes, rivers, and seas to evaporate and rise upwards.

As the air gets colder at higher altitudes, the rising evaporated water condenses and forms clouds which then precipitate in the form of rain or snow. The evaporation of water is greatest in northern parts of thr world where most of the water comes in the mountain areas in the form of snow. The snow melts in the spring and flows down to the waterways.

Some of it is collected in the water reservoirs that belong to the hydroelectric power stations. When needed, water is used to extract energy. After the water leaves the turbine, it returns to the river and the cycle begins again. More natural than that, energy recovery cannot be. Thanks to hydropower, this electricity system is a global model with low emissions, while we also have good conditions to continue to use a lot of electricity in the future.

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