Dams and their impact on EarthSimon SerranoHumans have innovated different ways to produce energy with the renewable resources Earth gives us such as wind and the sun.
This is because global warming and greenhouse gases levels rise up every year. If we don’t take care of the planet, the next generations of humans won’t have much resources left or none at all. We have also created a way to use water as energy called hydroelectric power. Most of this power comes from dams. Dams are big barriers constructed to hold back water and raise its level to form a reservoir used to generate electricity or it can also be used as a water supply. The dams built all over the world produce vast amounts of energy for the population and is proven to “provide more energy than any other renewable source accounting for 7 percent of total U.S.
production.” How do these work?There are 6 basic steps and parts to how a dam works. The first part is called the intake.
In this part water in the reservoir flows through an intake screen. The screen filters out large debris or rubbish but allows fish to pass through. The second part is called a penstock.
This is a large pipe where water travels to get to the turbine. In the turbine the force of the water spins it at low speed. The kinetic energy formed by the spinning activates a generator which transforms the energy of the water to electricity.
The turbine is connected to a generator where it spins coils of copper wire inside a ring of magnets, creating an electric field and producing electricity. The generator is connected to a machine called the switchyard that increases the voltage, allowing the electricity to travel through the electrical grid. Then, the water flows out of the penstock and into the downstream river.Some nice things about hydroelectricity is that it releases very small amounts of greenhouse gases, which causes the delay of global warming. Therefore we can say, that dams can fight climate change. The more of them we build, the less greenhouse gases will be emitted by other resources that will stop being used to produce energy.
Hydroelectricity is also considered a clean energy source. Creating power with this type of energy is not contaminating itself. The energy produced in these plants produce minimal amounts of greenhouse gases that don’t really pollute the atmosphere. Another advantage of building dams is they have an average lifetime of 50-100 years, meaning they are effective investments that may support power in upcoming generations.
These dams built can also uplift economies and modernize countries and their way of producing energy. Hydroelectricity is also safer than fossil fuels when producing energy because its a natural substance humans constantly use.Even though some people agree that hydroelectric energy is good for the environment, everything has its flaws or consequences.
For instance, some fish species and other creatures normally migrate when there is food shortage or when the breeding season begins. Building of dams could cut off their paths leading to lack of reproduction or fish deaths. This causes some environmental damage in rivers. Building the dams itself causes many greenhouse gases when building it. There will be many material waste and fossil fuels burned. There are many environmental consequences of damming water, flooding entire areas, creating vast reservoirs, changing water flow in rivers and disrupting the natural course of rivers. Also, one of the main downsides to setting up hydroelectric power plants is the risk of local droughts.
In some places, water can be significantly impacted by droughts which might lead to individuals not having accessibility of the electricity they need. Many places in this world leave a gigantic carbon footprint and aren’t doing much to save of what is left in the world. We can’t say that dams are the best working way of reducing the carbon footprint in a city or country but it might one day help the earth in a better way.Used sites:https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/pros-and-cons-of-hydroelectric-power.phphttps://www.citylab.com/environment/2015/11/hydroelectric-power-energy-dams/41691https://www.itaipu.gov.br/en/energy/10-reasons-promoting-hydroelectricityhttps://www.kidsdiscover.com/teacherresources/whats-good-and-whats-bad-about-hydropower/https://ww2.kqed.org/quest/2014/11/14/how-hydropower-dams-work/