The Hydroelectric Power Plants in the United States: How Do They Work?

In 2009, the US Dept. of Energy announced that $30.6 million of the government’s Recovery Act funds will be used to upgrade 7 hydroelectric power plants in the United States. Know the modernization projects & plans for improvement to resolve the environmental problems presented by hydro power plants

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According to the US Geological (USGS) hydroelectricpower is one of the most important renewable source of energy but only about 7 percent of total power is produced by hydroelectric power plants in the United States.

The negative environmental impacts were big factors that prevented the government to proceed with this undertaking. Surrounding valleys with existing towns, farmlands, pastures, and scenic locations can be permanently flooded. This can also disrupt the wildlife habitats and destroy existing fish life. Blocked river passages will prevent the arrival of migrating fishes like the salmon.

The only solution considered to fully harness the existing hydroelectric power plants to provide renewable and cleaner energy was at least modify the old ones.

There was also no assurance that hydroelectric power generation could reduce the production of greenhouse gases. Plant materials in newly flooded areas will decay in an environment with low levels of oxygen, thereby producing more potent greenhouse gases like methane.

A hydroelectric power plant converts water pressure into electricity. As a renewable source, it can endlessly sustain the production of hydroelectricity by using the gravitational force of falling or flowing water and water turbines.
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