The main benefits of Hydroenergy
1. Easily renewable
Hydroelectric energy is renewable. However, there’s only a limited number of suitable reservoirs where hydroelectric power plants can be built in the UK and even less places where hydro power is profitable.
Generating electricity with hydro energy is none polluting.
Hydroelectricity is a reliable form of energy. There are very little fluctuations in terms of the electric power that is being by a hydro plant. Areas that have large resources of water, i.e. Scotland, produce a large amount hydro energy.
As previously mentioned, adjusting water flow and output of electricity is conceptually easy. At times where power consumption is low, water flow is reduced and the magazine levels are being conserved for times when the power consumption is high.
Some of the disadvantages of Hydroelectric Energy
1. Environmental concerns
The environmental concerns of hydropower are due to due to damming of water, for storage, changed water flow and the construction of roads and power lines.
Hydroelectric power plants may affect fish and fish runs if not considered at design stage.
Building power plants is expensive. Hydroelectric power plants are not an exception to this. On the other hand, these plants do not require a lot of workers and maintenance costs are usually relatively low.
Electricity generation and energy prices are directly related to how much water is available. A drought could potentially affect this.
Hydro Power Stations in the UK
Dinorwig Power Station (1,728MW)
The Dinorwig Power Station in Wales was commission in 1984 and has a huge 1.7GW power rating. 10 miles of underground tunnels buried beneath the Elidir mountain carry water down from Marchlyn Mawr to the six 288MW turbine generators situated in Europe’s largest man-made cavern.
Ben Cruachan Power Station (400MW)
This unique Scottish hydro power station is actually built inside a mountain. In 1965 a dam across Loch Cruachan was opened by the Queen.
Foyers Power Station (305MW)
The Foyers hydro-electric power scheme is located on the Southeast corner of Loch Ness in Scotland.
Lochaber Hydroelectric Power (84MW)
The power generated by the Lochaber hydroelectric turbine is used by the aluminium smelter at Fort William.
Mossford Power Station(247MW)
In the 1950’s the Vaich Dam was constructed creating Loch Vaich.
Sloy Power Station (160MW)
The Loch Sloy hydro scheme was built just after WWII taking water down from Loch Sloy to Loch Lomond.