Hydro-Power Overview

Hydro-Power refers to the generation of power from water, and this can be done in a very large number of ways from a variety of different water sources.  The oldest version of hydro-power is a mill powered by a river and has been used for centuries.  Most modern hydro-power is used to generate electricity for general use by the public.  The sources of energy from the water come mainly from the mechanical energy of moving water from rivers or the ocean, although, there are some methods that rely on other aspects of energy for the source.

Hydro-Power plants have the potential to generate enormous amounts of energy at a very low cost once the plant has been built.  The largest hydro-power plant in existence is currently the Three Gorges Dam in China; at peak capacity the plant has twice the power capacity of the largest nuclear power plant.  In addition, hydro-power plants have no carbon emissions, no nuclear by-product, and have a predictable source of energy.  On the other hand, many hydro-power plants can have significant environmental impacts.  Dams especially can flood enormous tracks of land and have displaced millions of people.