Dear MEL Topic Readers,
The most powerful renewable energy
Ever since commercial electricity production began in 1870, electricity generation has been increasing steadily, and recently rapidly, to light houses and power computers. Though renewable energies, such as wind, solar and biofuels are taking some share, the combined total of these cleaner power represents less than 10% of the total power generation. Still, it is coal that generates the most electricity followed by natural gas. Combined, these two fossil fuels produce over 60% of the total power generation. The problem is the emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases from fossil fuel-based electricity generation account for a significant portion of world greenhouse gas emissions. On the bright side, hydroelectric power plants, which emit the smallest amount of greenhouse gas per generated power, produces about 16% of the total, far higher than Nuclear’s 10%.
The mechanism of hydropower is simple. It basically drops water from a high point to a lower point where turbines are waiting to spin. Sounds simple and eco-friendly, doesn’t it? However, this process usually takes place in water dams which were built with a significant impact on the environment and water ecosystem. Think of fish species that need to swim up to lay eggs like salmon. How can they clear the spinning turbines and blades of the powerplant? Also, there is a concrete wall and height they need to pass through.
To overcome these environmental challenges, some people are working on developing eco-friendly, sustainable hydropower plants.
Enjoy reading the article and learn about the challenges to build eco-friendly hydropower plants.