What is hydroelectricity

Much like most sources of renewable power, the question: ‘what is hydroelectricity’ is often brought up when the power source is brought up. 

Well we thought we’d put this little post together to help some of you iron out the details and get to know more about the renewable source of energy. 

Hydroelectricity is power generated by the movement of water using generators. When water is released it is forced down pipes that lead to turbines causing them to turn. Generators are connected to these turbines so when they turn so does the generator.

This produces electricity. Currently, this renewable energy source makes up 1/6 of the world’s electricity. Producing less pollution then that of the fire produced when using steam engines, hydroelectricity is a great alternative to non-renewable resources like coal and oil.

It may be worth noting that hydropower and hydroelectricity often get muddled up. This is partly because hydropower is used the describe any and all power generated from a process involving water. 

Hydroelectricity is specifically relating to electricity generated from a process that involves water.

It’s easily done but we thought we would just point it out considering the topic of this post!



Much like all forms of energy, there are benefits and negatives when considering a viable solution to energy demand and needs. But more often than not, the advantages of renewable sources of energy often greatly counters the disadvantages.

The advantages of hydroelectric energy beyond the fact that it is green, renewable energy, are that it is usually a very predictable and stable way of generating electricity. Compared to wind or solar, some hydroelectric pumps or dams can control the amount of water they use to produce electricity. They can often hit their capacity within 2 minutes of operation and can be switched off quickly.

There have been studies into using hydro power in unison with other renewable energy sources because it can be turned on and off very quickly. Helping other less reliable energy sources meet power needs within a small amount of time.

Supposedly hydroelectric generators also have a much longer life span too. The generator of a hydroelectric plant can last up to 100 years!



With the advantages must come some disadvantages, such is the nature of generating energy. 

Unfortunately, like most renewable energy sources there are disadvantages of hydroelectricity. Although producing very little pollution and not contributing to carbon emissions.

Possibly the biggest disadvantage would be the amount of money it takes to develop a hydroelectric project can be very high. They will also need permission to be built and that is never a fast process!

They can also damage the local environment, like the Three Gorges Dam in China, which flooded a huge area causing 1.2 million people having to be moved.


So, like many sources of power there are both arguments for and against the power source. But, if done right, hydroelectricity is an excellent way of harnessing a renewable, green method of energy generation.

There are also more forms of hydroelectricity currently being developed! You have wave and tidal technology being heavily considered as a means of generating energy.

What do you think? Are you for or against hydroelectricity? Hopefully now, when someone else asks what is hydroelectricity? You’ll be the first one to tell them!


Thanks for reading and have a great day!


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