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Why don't we use hydropower plants?

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posted on Mar, 2 2006 @ 01:17 PM
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When it comes to GLOBAL CHALLENGES, few are greater or more controversial than the construction of the massive Three Gorges Dam in Central China. It is the biggest dam, the largest hydroelectric scheme the world has ever seen. When it is finished, it will generate enough energy to equal 15 nuclear power plants. But for all the benefits, there is also a human cost. Hundreds of towns and villages along the Yangtze River will be consigned to history, swallowed up one by one by the rising waters.

transcripts.cnn.com...

Hydropower Facts

Anti hydropower information...

Interesting study... worth reading.

David Attenboroughs warning

Why don't we get all our electricity from hydropower plants?

If we are going to leave an ecological footprint, why don't we make it the smallest possible. The problems of hyropower aren't the kind of world threatining problems associated with our modern techniques.

[edit on 2/3/06 by byhiniur]




posted on Mar, 2 2006 @ 01:30 PM
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What do you think the Hoover Dam is doing? It's not that it's not being used, it's just not being used to the extent it could be.


source
The best sites for hydroelectric plants are swift-flowing rivers or steams, mountainous regions and areas with heavy rainfall. Only 20 percent of potential U.S. hydropower has been developed, but unfavorable terrain and environmental concerns make many sites unsuitable for hydropower plants.

However, since only 2,400 of the nation's 80,000 dams are currently used for hydropower, new projects do not necessarily require building new dams—many existing dams can be retrofitted to produce electricity. At existing hydropower plants, advanced technologies can be installed to increase efficiently and energy production.



posted on Mar, 2 2006 @ 01:32 PM
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Originally posted by byhiniur
Why don't we get all our electricity from hydropower plants?
[edit on 2/3/06 by byhiniur]



posted on Mar, 2 2006 @ 06:48 PM
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There are not enough hydroelectric capable sites in the US to power the entire country.

The great majority of sites that could generate power have already been developed.

Hoover Dam and other hydro facilities run at full output as long as water is available.
Right now, the Colorado River and Lake Mead are down to either a historic low level or not far from it.
For that reason generation capacity could be lower than usual.

US generation facilities include, fossil fuel plants, coal generating facilities, solar, photovoltaic on a small scale, nuclear, hydro - including generation from big lakes like Lake Mead as well as small stream flow plants.

Thermal generation is on line, but on a very small scale due to not too many thermally productive areas exist.

Wind machines - as most know - are on line, but they're a pain in the backside to the utilities that operate them.
Plus, after all the screaming and whining from the enviro's, now that we have wind generation they don't like it.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 03:55 AM
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Originally posted by Desert Dawg
There are not enough hydroelectric capable sites in the US to power the entire country.

The great majority of sites that could generate power have already been developed.

Hoover Dam and other hydro facilities run at full output as long as water is available.
Right now, the Colorado River and Lake Mead are down to either a historic low level or not far from it.
For that reason generation capacity could be lower than usual.


From research I conducted during my thread "Hydropower... is the idea feesable" hydropower plants can be set up anywhere... So saying there are no good sights is not good enough. Next, low rainfall can be compensated by using other sources of water, or other liquids (which I am sure would be more efficient.

Read the link above entitled "Interesting study... worth reading"...


Originally posted by Desert Dawg
US generation facilities include, fossil fuel plants, coal generating facilities, solar, photovoltaic on a small scale, nuclear, hydro - including generation from big lakes like Lake Mead as well as small stream flow plants.

Thermal generation is on line, but on a very small scale due to not too many thermally productive areas exist.


These all have greater problems than hydropower plants. Ecological effects aside, all these sources are dependable on resources. 70% of the world is covered in water. One hydropower plant can be equal to "15 power plants", so I think any argument against hydropower on its lack of production is unsupported. We have scientists working on a vast array of new power sources, and I understand putting all our eggs in one basket would be dangerous, but we have the available technology... it could be used to great effect.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 09:15 AM
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From research I conducted during my thread "Hydropower... is the idea feesable" hydropower plants can be set up anywhere...


I live in the N/W corner of Arizona at 3300' altitude.
The area is primarily desert country.
I encourage you to set up a hydro facility here.
No major rivers, no major lakes and minimal rainfall.



Next, low rainfall can be compensated by using other sources of water, or other liquids (which I am sure would be more efficient.


There is no compensation for lack of rainfall.
In the wet years you generate all you can.
In dry years, hydro is used when they can, usually during peak hours at some facilities and at others, water is retained so some generation can be done through the dry season.
Discounting to an extent requirements to maintain lake levels for the benefit of wildlife etc.





These all have greater problems than hydropower plants. Ecological effects aside, all these sources are dependable on resources. 70% of the world is covered in water. One hydropower plant can be equal to "15 power plants", so I think any argument against hydropower on its lack of production is unsupported.


One hydro plant being equal to 15 power plants would only be true if the hydro plant in question had, say, 1500mw capacity and you compared it to 15 fuel burning plants of 100 mw capacity each.

The Southern California utility I worked at has about 1200-1400 mw hydro generation capacity with all hydro plants on line and system load during a hot summer day - a few years back - equalled 18,000mw.


Some of the generation methods I listed do require resources in the form of constantly burning fuels.
Others require resources in the form of manufacturing components etc. but once those are in place use of resources is minimized to an extent.

Keep in mind that efficient hydro units require a high hydraulic pressure and that's derived from water delivered from an altitude considerably higher than the generating plant.

I'm not knocking hydro, on the contrary I like it and wish we had more hydro capable areas, but in the USA we don't.

Power companies like hydro generation, in a small way it's almost free power and once the plant is paid for, the only real cost is maintenance and operating costs which are minimal compared to the revenues gained.


I read your links and the one recommended in your last post is about adding small generating low-head units downstream from the big plants.
A good idea, but not sufficient to power the entire US.

As far as other countries that generate all of, or the great majority of electricity from hydro, the answer there is their population densityprobably doesn't equal the population density of the US, but they have a lot of hydro sites as well as a lot of precipitation in the form of snow and rain.


I did read your other hydro oriented post and it seems what your friends dad demonstrated was a siphon.
For liquid to flow in a hose the outlet has to be lower than the inlet.
Raise the hose end and the siphon stops.


You're having a nice dream about powering the US via hydro . . . nevertheless, it's still a dream....



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 04:34 PM
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This is a bit of topic, but could help produce rainfall.

Maybe they are planning it with all the weather technology.

Take a look...



[edit on 3/3/06 by byhiniur]



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 04:50 PM
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I tried the link, but it doesn't work.

Can you fix it?



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 05:12 PM
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Benefits
Hydropower is a clean, domestic and renewable source of energy. Hydropower plants provide inexpensive electricity and produce no pollution. And, unlike other energy sources such as fossil fuels, water is not destroyed during the production of electricity—it can be reused for other purposes.
Obstacles
Hydropower plants can significantly impact the surrounding area—reservoirs can cover towns, scenic locations and farmland, as well as affect fish and wildlife habitat. To mitigate impact on migration patterns and wildlife habitats, dams maintain a steady stream flow and can be designed or retrofitted with fish ladders and fishways to help fish migrate upstream to spawn.
Source


Move the towns, have ecologically free power forever... whats the problem.



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 05:30 PM
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"Move the towns, have ecologically free power forever... whats the problem."


I'm not arguing the point as to whether hydro is good or not, but that there is not enough hydro available sites to generate the quantity of power the US requires.

Hydro supplies 9-10% of the nations power.

With 2,400 of the nation's 80,000 dams generating hydro power, it's obvious the great majority of the remaining dams, only a few will be high head economically feasible installations.
The remainder will be low head plants without a whole lot of electrical capacity.

As for shutting down a town or several and buying out the property owners, that would be more than difficult if not impossible.

Read up on the Owens Valley water theft perpetrated by the D.W.P. and L.A. County.
There are people living there today that still curse L.A. and D.W.P.

The Owens Valley used to be a small paradise in Eastern Central California with farms, orchards and the like.
Aside from the Sierra and eastern mountains, Owns Valley is pretty much a desert today.

Shutting down enough towns in an attempt to realize your dream would create a sizable population with an ax or two to grind.
Not to mention the loss of a substantial tax base when people and businesses scatter to the winds.

No matter how hard you wish, powering the US via hydro only is not attainable in my lifetime nor yours or your grandchildren's.

Somewhere along the line, within the next 50 years I'm guessing, fusion will be understood and we'll have fusion nuke plants instead of the fission ones from today.
Along with that will be environmentally sound systems to handle any fusion waste products with no degradation of the environment.



(Edited to add quote marks.)



[edit on 3-3-2006 by Desert Dawg]

[edit on 3-3-2006 by Desert Dawg]



posted on Mar, 3 2006 @ 05:49 PM
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I'm not arguing the point as to whether hydro is good or not, but that there is not enough hydro available sites to generate the quantity of power the US requires.
Hydro supplies 9-10% of the nations power.
With 2,400 of the nation's 80,000 dams generating hydro power, it's obvious the great majority of the remaining dams, only a few will be high head economically feasible installations.

Let's do some math. 2400 divided by 80000 is 0.03. Times a 100. Thats 3%.
So hydropower already supplies 9-10%.
10 times 3 is 30... so if we used 30% of the dams, obviously we'd want more power to create hydrogen for our cars etc. etc. It's not rocket science, thats the real reason we don't have it.


As for shutting down a town or several and buying out the property owners, that would be more than difficult if not impossible.

Read up on the Owens Valley water theft perpetrated by the D.W.P. and L.A. County.
There are people living there today that still curse L.A. and D.W.P.

The Owens Valley used to be a small paradise in Eastern Central California with farms, orchards and the like.
Aside from the Sierra and eastern mountains, Owns Valley is pretty much a desert today.

Shutting down enough towns in an attempt to realize your dream would create a sizable population with an ax or two to grind.
Not to mention the loss of a substantial tax base when people and businesses scatter to the winds.

Materialism is half the problem in the fight against consumerism. I think we are playing for survival. I 'm not proposing this for the US. I'm proposing it full stop... period for you
. Anyway, the Owens Valley was a dispute about water rights, so I don't understand the reason you bring that up.


No matter how hard you wish, powering the US via hydro only is not attainable in my lifetime nor yours or your grandchildren's.

I want a world for my grandchildren.

Somewhere along the line, within the next 50 years I'm guessing, fusion will be understood and we'll have fusion nuke plants instead of the fission ones from today.
Along with that will be environmentally sound systems to handle any fusion waste products with no degradation of the environment.

Let's do nothing then, just let someone else sort it out. This is a solid concept. A way forward, one less problem to wake up to.

[edit on 3/3/06 by byhiniur]



posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by byhiniur10 times 3 is 30... so if we used 30% of the dams, obviously we'd want more power to create hydrogen for our cars etc. etc. It's not rocket science, thats the real reason we don't have it.


What do dams and producing hydrogen have to do with one another?

Producing electricity from a dam is dependent on the rainfall of that region, if there is little rain there will be little power. People cannot rely on such a method to power their homes and other facilities.



posted on Mar, 4 2006 @ 07:03 PM
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Not all dams are capable of producing power.

For instance, out here in Dallas we have dams at White Rock Lake (among others.) The lake is a recreational area and provides some water for the county.

But the maximum depth of this lake when there've been good rains and the lake is full -- 20 feet! www.tpwd.state.tx.us...

The lake isn't deep enough (and can't be made deep enough) to fit a hydroelectric power unit. Same with Lake Ray Hubbard (maximum depth, 40 feet), and all the other lakes in Dallas county.

This is true of many, many lakes that have dams. Hydroelectric, yes, would solve a lot of problems but it's simply not feasible here (just as solar power isn't feasible in rainy, rainy Seattle.)



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