Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy

Sample Essay on Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric energy is a term used to describe power electric power that is generated through hydro-power. It is harnessed by gravitational force of flowing or falling water and it is one of the most widely used sources of energy in the world. Electricity is created when water passes over huge mechanical turbines where the pressure of the water forces turbines to turn creating mechanical energy which is converted to electricity.


This type of energy doesn’t ‘use’ water since the water is returned back to its origin. This type of power is created on a 24/7 basis as long as the source of the water does not run dry. It is one of the cleanest energy sources and once power plants are put into place, there is no need to create any waste products. The dams are constructed then their gates shut. The benefits associated with hydroelectric power are as highlighted below:

  • After construction of the dam, electricity is produced at a rate that is constant
  • When electricity isn’t required, sluice gates are closed and this stops generation of electricity and also means that water can be saved so it can be used when the demand for electricity is high.
  • The design of the dams is done in a manner that ensures they last for decades and as such, can be used for pleasure/leisure activities or water sports. If the dams are very large, they can also double up as attractions for tourists.
  • Electricity that is produced from dams does not emit any greenhouse gases as such it does not pollute the environment.


Like other power plants, it is quite expensive to build hydroelectric plants and this is largely because they need to be built in the highest possible standards. This high cost also means the plants should operate for longer durations before they can become profitable. Dam creation can be a source of flooding and this means the natural habitat and environment will be destroyed leading to destruction of not only people but animals as well.

When dams are built in order to harness hydroelectric power, it can also translate to problems of accessing water and the creation also means that people who live down the river will not be able to enjoy the control of water flow. Large dams are also known to alter natural water table levels (for instance the Aswan Dam in Egypt) and this can lead to damage of other ancient monuments like destructive minerals and salts.

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