Although there are many benefits to hydroelectric power, there are also a number of downsides. One of the most obvious is the fact that this method of energy production does not produce any emissions. But this isn’t entirely true. Hydroelectric plants emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, and the water they use to create electricity is diluted with pollutants. This will greatly affect the environment and the water cycle. In addition, the water from hydroelectric plants will decompose in a reservoir, which will cause the release of carbon dioxide and methane. The climate change problem will only make this situation worse.
Effect On Water Quality
Another disadvantage is the effect on water quality. Because dams limit the flow of water, the oxygen levels in the water can decline. This can be problematic for some fish species and could damage the river habitat. Additionally, hydroelectric dams also cause more sedimentation of rivers and lakes, which will reduce the amount of oxygen in the water. The negative impacts of hydroelectric power extend beyond the local ecology. As a result, there are several reasons why the use of this energy source is not so widespread.
Another downside of hydroelectric energy is the cost. The construction of a hydroelectric dam costs a lot, but the energy it generates is cheap. Depending on the type of dam, the dam can pay for itself in two to five years. The Itaipu Dam in New Zealand, for instance, cost $18 billion and took 18 years to complete. However, the cost of hydroelectric energy is negligible compared to other methods of renewable energy.
Loss Of Local Biodiversity
In addition to reducing energy costs, hydroelectric power is often associated with a loss of local biodiversity. In some countries, hydroelectric plants have the potential to impact rivers and reduce the number of fish living in them. Despite these negative aspects, there are advantages to this method of energy generation. The downside is that it causes local drought. So while hydropower plants are more environmentally friendly than wind and solar power, they can also lead to conflict and war.
The environmental impact of hydroelectric energy is significant. Creating dams can create a flood that can harm nearby ecosystems. As a result, some fish species may not be able to survive. Other adverse effects of hydroelectric power include increased pollution and a decrease in oxygen levels. Lastly, hydroelectric dams have an effect on water quality, which means it affects the oxygen levels in rivers. The lack of oxygen in these bodies of water can lead to a number of other health problems, including respiratory disease.
Expensive To Operate
While hydropower is cheap to construct, dams are expensive to operate. For example, it can take anywhere from two to five years for a hydroelectric plant to pay for itself. In addition to this, dams are a huge drain on local environments and ecosystems. In contrast, some hydroelectric plants can only produce power for twenty to thirty years. But this is an important point.