Topics: Hydroelectricity, Renewable energy, Dam Pages: 2 (404 words) Published: April 20, 2005
Renewable Energy (Hydropower)

The first time hydropower was used was in 1880 to generate 16 lamps at a wolverine chair factory in Grand Rapids Michigan. In the United States, hydroelectric plants opened near Appleton, Wisconsin on the Fox River on September 30, 1882. At that time, the only fuel used to make electricity was coal because of its abundance and low cost. People knew about hydroelectric power but the only places you could do that is by a water source. Hydropower became more popular when technology could send electricity long distances.

To make hydropower, you have to direct moving water into pipes known as penstock. The swiftly flowing water in big rivers determines the energy produced or waterfalls, like the Columbia River or Niagara Falls. After the moving water is directed into the penstock, it pushes against the blades in the turbine to spin a generator that produces electricity. The other way to get hydropower is a storage system where water is collected by dams and will direct water into the penstock to turn the generator when the demand for electricity is high.

The water being held back by the dam becomes lakes used for boating and fishing. The rivers beyond the dam become whitewater rafting and kayaking spots. An example of this is the Hoover dam, made in 1936 between Arizona and Nevada. This dam created lake 110 miles long called Lake Mead, offering water sports and fishing. Almost all of the hydroelectricity made in the United States is made in nine states, Washington, California, Oregon, New York, Tennessee, South Carolina, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Nevada.

Hydropower is an ideal fuel because it is renewable and almost free, having no waste products, and does not pollute the water or air. A negative about hydropower is how it changes the environment and alters the natural habitats. An example of the negative effect on nature by a dam was when the salmon was blocked from their spawning grounds upstream. The...
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