- One of the world’s oldest sources of power is Hydro power. Power is generated when water flows and makes a turbine or wheel spin. Farmers have been using this source of power since ancient Greece for grinding grain and other mechanical jobs. Hydro power doesn’t pollute the air or have any byproducts that are toxic. And what’s even better – it is a renewable energy source!
2. The Hoover Dam is what usually comes to mind when we think of hydro power. It is a large facility where power is stored behind big walls. But hydro power can be store in small facilities too by taking advantage of the water that flows in irrigation ditches and municipal water facilities. These facilities don’t even need to have a dam when there are diversions that channel part of a stream before it rejoins the main river after going through a powerhouse.
3. The first hydroelectric facility in the country was Niagara Falls which was built in 1881. That is when Charles Brush connected turbines to a generator and powered by the falls. Electricity was used for nighttime lights for the visiting tourists. In 1882, the first commercial hydro power facility in America was built in Appleton, Wisconsin and it powered the lights for a paper mill as well as several homes.
4. There is hydro power used in every state for electricity, some use it more than others. Such as Washington State who has more than 70 percent of their electricity is from hydro power. There are eleven other states that get more than 10 percent of their electric power from hydro power.
5. Other energy sources cost more than hydro power and places like Idaho, Oregon, and Washington have the lowest energy bills in the country because of hydro power.
6. Approximately 7 percent of the US electricity is hydro electricity.
7. There are hydro power facilities that can go from zero power to max output which makes them perfect for meeting any quick, unplanned changes in electricity demands. Since hydro power plants can send power immediately to the grid, they provide crucial back-up power when there are major electricity disruptions.
8. Pumped storage is another type of hydro power that works somewhat like a battery and stores the electricity that nuclear, solar and wind generate for later use. That energy is stored by pumping water uphill to a higher elevated reservoir from a second reservoir that is lower. Then if and when there is a need for that power, the water is released which turns a turbine and electricity is generated.
9. The dams have devices which help fish and wildlife move around them freely. Fish elevators and fish ladders are a few of the techniques that are used toassist fish in migrating.
10. Less than 3% of the dams today are used for power generating. They are also built for flood control, irrigation, navigation, and shipping or to create reservoirs that are used for recreational activities.