Hydroelectricity uses the energy from moving water to create electricity. Using natural sources of water like rivers, dams and rainfall, hydro power seems to be a feasible option for renewable energy. I found a page that discusses the gravitational power of rainfall in Britain per year. Taking the total amount of rainfall (584 mm per year), times the density of water (1000 kg/m^3), the altitude above sea level (100 m), and the strength of gravity (10 m/s^2), we would get about 0.02 W/m^2 of power per unit at best. This number represents the amount of power per unit land area that the rainfall landed.

(584 mm / year * 1000 kg/m^3 * 10 m/s^2 * 100 m = 0.02 W/m^2)

When we multiply the amount of power per land unit by the area per person, in this region of BritainĀ (0.02 W/m^2 * 2700m^2 / 60 million people) we would be left with about 1 kWh per day per person, at max rainfall. Right away we can see that this is nowhere near the amount of energy needed to sustain even one person for a day.

A major roadblock for hydroelectric power is that it never uses water’s full potential energy due to high rates of evaporation as well as scarcity of hydro power/electric plants. It is clear that hydroelectric power itself cannot power our everyday lives, though perhaps through further experimentation and research we may see an increase in hydroelectricity usage worldwide.

4 thoughts on “Hydroelectricity

  1. I completely agree with you when you say that water is full of potential yet we can never use its full potential. Maybe there can be a way that we can fully utilize it before it evaporates or even increase the vaporization process and use the steam generated from it. Water is abundant on our planet and we must continue to work towards utilizing both salt and fresh water, whether it’s through waves or rainfall.

  2. I found it a little discouraging to know that hydroelectricity most likely will not power England so I decided to look into countries where hydroelectricity is efficient and popular in generating renewable energy. I found that hydroelectricity is used in China, Russia, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand because of the natural rivers and slope of the land which allows the rivers to have strong flows and some even have strong tidal power. Although hydroelectricity is not the perfect option for England it is not to be forgotten about since it’s used in other parts of the world.

  3. I wrote about the same article and I also came to rather negative/disappointing conclusions, specially because we all know Great Britain for its’ excessive rain. I think we might just need to use hydroelectricity in tandem with all of the renewable energy options that these blog posts have highlighted with a practical lens in mind.

  4. It’s interesting to read your post after Angie’s because you two seem to come to different, but discouraging, conclusions. You bring up a good point of the fact that we can never fully harness the power of water due to evaporation rates, and I agree, but could there possibly be some way where we could slow that process?

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