It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
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.
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.
Originally posted by byhiniur
Why don't we get all our electricity from hydropower plants?
[edit on 2/3/06 by byhiniur]
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.
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.
From research I conducted during my thread "Hydropower... is the idea feesable" hydropower plants can be set up anywhere...
Next, low rainfall can be compensated by using other sources of water, or other liquids (which I am sure would be more efficient.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.