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Thread: why isn't hydraulic energy used to its full potential?

  1. #1 why isn't hydraulic energy used to its full potential? 
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    Looking at some simple tabular data, you can easily see that countries having an average precipitation per year of at least 691 have enough hydraulic power to sustain at least 90 % of their electricity from Hydroelectric sources.... on the other hand... you do find countries having this level of average yearly precipitation or even 3 times that amount and yet their hydroelectric generation does not exceed 10 % of the total generated power....

    This is just one form of energy we are wasting... and instead utilities are using coal, nuclear energy, oil, gas... increasing CO2 emission, causing global warming and disasters like Fukushima and Chernobyl.

    So why aren't renewable energy sources used to its full potential?


    Country Name Average precipitation in depth (mm per year) Electricity production from hydroelectric sources (% of total)
    1 Paraguay 1,130 100
    2 Mozambique 1,032 99.92
    3 Zambia 1,020 99.69
    4 Nepal 1,500 99.58
    5 Congo, Dem. Rep. 1,543 99.55
    6 Albania 1,485 99.39
    7 Tajikistan 691 97.97
    8 Norway 1,414 94.75



    Country Name Average precipitation in depth (mm per year) Electricity production from hydroelectric sources (% of total)
    12 Korea, Rep. 1,274 0.77
    14 Cuba 1,335 0.85
    15 Benin 1,039 0.93
    16 United Kingdom 1,220 0.94
    19 Ireland 1,118 1.97
    20 Jamaica 2,051 2.02
    21 Lithuania 656 2.90
    22 Germany 700 3.09
    23 Czech Republic 677 3.27
    24 Luxembourg 934 3.34
    26 Cambodia 1,904 3.90
    27 Bangladesh 2,666 4.10




    Average precipitation in depth (mm per year) correlation with Electricity production from hydroelectric sources (% of total)


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  3. #2  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Hydroelectric power has its downfalls as well. Dams can be far more destructive to our natural systems than even the dirtiest coal plants. There are new tidal power plants that are harnessing less energy with less interference, but there are still considerations to be made.

    As of yet, there is no one power source that has the universal answers to our energy woes.


    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Hydroelectric power has its downfalls as well. Dams can be far more destructive to our natural systems than even the dirtiest coal plants. There are new tidal power plants that are harnessing less energy with less interference, but there are still considerations to be made.

    As of yet, there is no one power source that has the universal answers to our energy woes.
    what kind of downfalls? Are you talking about a possible disastrous flood due to a Dam destruction?
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    what kind of downfalls? Are you talking about a possible disastrous flood due to a Dam destruction?


    -Displaced communities, roads and other infrastructure rerouting to make room for the dam and reservoir space.
    -Potential for fault ruptures and earthquakes from isostatic adjustment as their reservoirs fill
    -Disastrous floods when they collapse
    -Reduced capacity with time as sediments fill behind them
    -Blocking of migratory fish moving up and down stream, as well as altered temperature, nutrient loads.
    -Reduced downstream water due to reservoir evaporation
    -Altered ground water tables sometime resulting in new lakes and pond outside planned reservoir and/or creating erosion of dam.
    -Fewer banjo duos

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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    what kind of downfalls? Are you talking about a possible disastrous flood due to a Dam destruction?


    -Displaced communities, roads and other infrastructure rerouting to make room for the dam and reservoir space.
    -Potential for fault ruptures and earthquakes from isostatic adjustment as their reservoirs fill
    -Disastrous floods when they collapse
    -Reduced capacity with time as sediments fill behind them
    -Blocking of migratory fish moving up and down stream, as well as altered temperature, nutrient loads.
    -Reduced downstream water due to reservoir evaporation
    -Altered ground water tables sometime resulting in new lakes and pond outside planned reservoir and/or creating erosion of dam.
    -Fewer banjo duos

    Thank you, that is very informative.

    Ok, how about countries having a steady flow of their rivers. Are dams still required? In that case, I believe Hydraulic sources of energy are still a safe alternative to coal, oil, gas and nuclear....
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    Quote Originally Posted by desert_rose View Post
    Thank you, that is very informative.

    Ok, how about countries having a steady flow of their rivers. Are dams still required? In that case, I believe Hydraulic sources of energy are still a safe alternative to coal, oil, gas and nuclear....
    Hydroelectric power is clean in that we don't have to burn fuels to create the energy we extract. The problems with dams are not as obvious as with other power sources. Like Lynx said, they are disruptive to a natural cycle. While they may not pollute, they still have problems associated with them.

    However, dams are not required for all forms of hydro power. There are plenty of projects involving harnessing tidal energies and wave actions that are supposed to be less disruptive than dams. Dams are remarkable feats of engineering, but ultimately a very poor choice for clean energy.
    "Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." -Calvin
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  8. #7  
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    A problem we're having in my region (USA, Pacific Northwest) is that there isn't enough demand for electricity to make full use of the hydro power available. They built a long range power transmission line to send some of the energy down to California, but even maxing that out, they still had to let some of the energy go to waste.

    Also, even the numbers you're showing for the potential will be small, desert, because hydro-electric is an ideal baseload to couple with wind or solar, since you can turn hydro electric on and off almost instantly, and the water pressure (usually) isn't lost by turning it off. With enough windmills extending it, you could probably double the renewable capacity in an area that has hydro available.
    Some clocks are only right twice a day, but they are still right when they are right.
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