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Energy Quote

The world is full of tradeoffs, and sometimes 'renewable power' activists fail to recognize that. Solar energy collectors must displace a tremendous amount of natural landscape to produce any significant amount of energy. And anything less requires a great deal of financial expenditures for very little and very inconsistent power.

Ben Lieberman

Hydropower

A Brief Description:

Hydropower is energy obtained from flowing water. Energy in water can be harnessed and used, in the form of motive energy or temperature differences. The most common application is the dam, but it can be used directly as a mechanical force or a thermal source/sink.

Hydroelectric power from potential energy of the elevation of waters, now supplies about 715,000 MWe or 19% of world electricity, and large dams are still being designed. Apart from a few countries with an abundance of it, hydro power is normally applied to peak-load demand, because it is so readily stopped and started. Nevertheless, hydroelectric power is probably not a major option for the future of energy production in the developed nations because most major sites within these nations with the potential for harnessing gravity in this way are either already being exploited or are unavailable for other reasons such as environmental considerations.

Small scale hydro or micro-hydro power has been increasingly used as an alternative energy source, especially in remote areas other power sources are not viable. Small scale hydro power systems can be installed in small rivers or streams with little or no discernable environmental effect on things such as fish migration. Most small scale hydro power systems make no use of a dam or major water diversion, but rather use water wheels with little environmental impact.

30 Jan 2007 10:47:02

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