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Jul 19

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Water Power: The Good, the Bad, and the Bubbly

Hydropower is one of the cleaner energy options, but that doesn’t make it perfect. Wade into this:

Look at that…dam!! (via Dwight Burdette)

Rushing, cascading water doesn’t just power epic rafting trips—fast-flowing water also creates hydropower.

It goes something like this: A dam is built in a river, holding back the water to form a reservoir. When released, the force of the water’s flow spins the blades of a giant turbine, which in turn activates a generator and produces electricity.

Hydropower has been around since the first plant was built in Wisconsin in the late 19th century, and today provides about one-fifth of the world’s electricity. The energy it creates is inexpensive, renewable, and clean.

But there’s a catch. Dams can also destroy river habitat and disrupt wildlife and other natural resources, which means smart design and management is key.

So, what can those of us who aren’t hydrologists do to help? Simple pro tip: Use less energy by turning stuff off when you’re not using it.

Learn More:

The fine print:

 

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.currentcast.org/water-and-energy/hydroelectric-power/