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Week 7: Assignment

Yousef n. Al-Joudi Student

ID: H00029133
Hydroelectric power

This paper will evaluate the hydroelectric power potential as an alternate fuel and the
future of this energy source in the coming years. And we will see in this article the
numerous application of this technology in helping to solve the growing problem of
fossil fuel exhaustion and global warming because of the high CO2 emissions in the
environment due to hydrocarbon combustion .
The Hydroelectric power was known in the latter part of the 19th century. Once the
Hydroelectric power was feasible to be applied the production of the hydropower was
developed very fast in the United States until, the beginning of the 20th hydropower
supply up to 40% of the total US electricity. Presently hydropower supply around
10% of United States total energy sources (USBR, 2005 p.2) and this percentage
continue to go down because of two main factors: first lack of new places are
practical to build new huge hydropower and the growing strict regulations of the
federal hydropower agencies for building new dams because of the rising issues that
building dames are affecting the water environment and the fishery impacts of large
dams (Kosnik, 2008 pp.5-6). The Hydropower is produced through the kinetic energy
that comes from the falling water. It is either diverted from the river or from the water
held by a Dam, steered to a turbine which will make it rotates because of the power of
the falling water. (Kosnik, 2008 p.4). Both of the quantity of the water and the volume
of the force define the amount of the mechanical energy created. Then turbines are
connected to generators which converts the mechanical energy in to power then this
power are connected to power cables which transfer this generated electricity to
homes and factories.( USGS Water Science School, 2014)

Current status of Hydropower
The most famous related issues of the big Hydropower Dams are the effects on
waterways ecologically. The construction of the big traditional hydropower plants has
been delayed in United States and in most of the developed world countries because
of these riverine effects. The renewal of 70 years old Dam operational permit was
rejected in 1993by The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the United States
for the first time because of the bad riverine effects (Kosnik, 2008 p.6). The
construction of such big dams is having its own effects on the waterways environment
which contradict with the choice of having green energy changeovers. Therefore
switching to a smaller hydropower plants with capacity of 30MW has proven that it
has tremendously less riverine effects. In addition to that smaller hydro plants with
capacity of 18 kWh will generate more power than costly photovoltaic systems. A
forecast research in 2006 by the United States Department of Energy regarding the
growth utilization of small and micro hydropower with the 30MW capacity, found out
that these plants could achieve more than 275,000 MW (Kosnik, 2008 p.7).

Hydropower Future
Considering that the construction of new big dams are restricted now days in the
United States because of its ecological impacts on the waterways, A new development
through modernization, relicensing at the existing hydropower plants could lead to
achieve more capacity of approximately 4,300 MW. Also it is feasible to have new
hydro plants but in the place of the existing big dams not only that also the
development of small and low hydropower all of that could lead to growing of
hydropower manufacturing by almost 50 %. Moreover the Hydrokinetic Energy
which founded in rivers, Marine streams and tidal also has the potential to add
approximately of 300MW (Bahleda & Hosko, 2007 pp.37-38).
In spite of all the restriction for the development of the hydropower appears
unpromising for building new facilities but the future holds many promising
opportunities for hydropower energy with a number of new technologies that can
utilize rivers and ocean to produce gas free environmentally safe electric sources.
With increasing demands for a clean energy sources the hydropower energy
technologies have to overcome all the related problems associated with it that disturbs
the water lives. This energy source has the potential to solve the GHG emissions if it
is improved and developed well.
Bahleda, M. & Hosko, M.A., (2007) Assessment of Waterpower Potential and
Development Needs, Electric Power Research Institute, California. [Online].Available
Assessment-of-Waterpower-Potential-and-Development-Needs.pdf (Accessed: 05
May 2014)
Kosnik, L. (2008). The potential of water power in the fight against global warming in
the US. Energy Policy, 36(9), 3252-3265. [Online].Available from: (Accessed: 05 May
USGS Water Science School, (2014) Hydroelectric power: How it works
[Online].Available from: (Accessed: 05
May 2014)
US Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, power resources office, (2005)
Reclamation managing water in the west: hydroelectric power. [Online].Available
from: (Accessed: 06 May 2014)