Hydropower Pros and Cons List

Hydropower is the one of the oldest and most renewable energy sources in the world today. It is also one of the most used renewable energy sources. Hydropower is known to have been commonly used in ancient Greece and Rome. Another term for hydropower is hydroelectricity. Hydropower is very beneficial and has many pros, however, there are instances of some cons to the use of hydropower.

Pros of Hydropower

1. Free Resource
Water is a free energy source. Unlike fuels, the cost of water remains constant and does not fluctuate based on political and economic factors.

2. Renewable
Though the means of turning water into power comes with its own cost, the source of water itself is free and renewable. The source of water for hydro-power is constantly renewed through rain and evaporation.

3. Plants Do Not Pollute
Hydro-power accounts for 96% of the world’s renewable energy. Hydro-power plants do not pollute the air, water or land like other power plants do and it does not contribute to global warming or acid rain.

4. Improved Quality of Environment
Dams that are built for hydro-power purposes actually contribute to the quality of the environment by providing better water quality, a better water supply, irrigation for farming, and a larger habitat for aquatic life, to name a few.

5. More Recreation
Other additionally positive qualities are that many dams provide recreation for camping, fishing and water sports, not to mention the scenic views.

6. Keep Up With Demand
Another pro for hydro-power is that when there is an increase in demand for hydro-power, additional power plants can be added to the existing dams rather than having to build bigger or additional dam sites. And of course the hydro-power being generated uses only a small fraction of the natural resource available.

Cons of Hydropower

1. Destroy Homes and Habitats
Anything on an industrial scale as a power plant will have some negative effects on the environment. When a dam site is chosen there are many changes that have to made to the environment; changes that destroy homes and habitats.

2. Flooding Areas
Actual towns have been built up around dams, as well as entire towns flooded out and taken over by water, becoming an underwater ghost town and non-existent.

3. Risk of Extinction to Species
Whenever the environment is changed and habitats are destroyed there is always the risk of extinction to a species. Animals and humans alike have to relocate or be destroyed. Dams can break and cause havoc with flooding, endangering human and animal life. The building of dams can change waterways, the path and flow of rivers causing shortages to neighboring homes and sometimes cutting off the water supply to local livestock. Other cons are that the construction costs are enormous and the energy provided is very dependent on rainfall and can be effected by drought.