On hearing how important hydroelectricity is to New York State and their green energy initiatives, I wanted to understand what draw backs may come with the sustainable energy option. In the book “Sustainable Energy–without the hot air”, the author explores what is necessary to make hydroelectricity and he states that all “you need [is] altitude, and you need rainfall” (55, MacKay). He goes in further with an anecdote rooted in math to prove that hydroelectricity is not compatible with all countries rain flows, and ultimately their ability to create a sustainable amount of hydroelectricity to account for the populations energy demands.
The country that showcases the shortcomings of this issue in Britain, a country notorious for its’ rainfall, by estimating the gravitational power of the rain in both the low and high lands by multiplying the rainfall, by the density of the water, by the strength of gravity, and the typical altitude of the lands above the sea. Once the calculations for both the low lands and high lands gravitational power of rain, independently of each other, and then added up together, the author was able to show that the limits of the hydroelectric energy production you can create/capture in a day is 1.5 kWh/d.
This is a minute amount of energy relative to what biomass, solar heating, and wind energy are able to produce about over fifteen times the amount of energy over the same period of time. The author also explains that, “The actual power from hydroelectricity in the UK today is 0.2 kWh/d per person, so this 1.5kWh/d per person would require a seven-fold in- crease in hydroelectric power” (56, MacKay). Hydroelectricity seems to have some major set backs and ultimately seems like an investment of time and energy that may not be worth it fiscally compared to other renewable energy sources.