By. Walker Thede
How Hydropower Works
Hydropower works by making a large dam in a large river. As the river flows it flows into the dam and it passes out into the other side. While going through the dam it turns a turbine that stores energy into a cell near the side of the dam usually. Some power things directly like flour mills but some store the energy.
The earliest forms of hydropower were in the early 1800's when flour mills were built and powered by a turning wheel that was pushed by water currents. Washington uses a lot of hydropower plants. The largest one in the US is at the Columbia River in northern Washington. 70% of Washington's electricity is made from hydropower plants. Hydropower is also the cheapest source of energy today. The costs only come from making the dam and buying the equipment and then after that the energy from the water is free since the river is always running.
Hydroelectric Power Plant Working Animation
Why It Is Important?
Hydropower is important to our future because we can't run out of it. The only way we would ever run out of it is if the water would dry up. Right now Hydropower produces 24% of the worlds power and is giving off the same amount of energy as 3.6 billion barrels of oil. In this form of energy you never lose any water from the rivers. Instead you let certain amounts through in a certain area so it turns a turbine. It is renewable and extremely efficient. This can't be used anywhere though. You have to have some source of water that is big enough and will give off enough energy.
This is an early form of hydropower.
The outflow after going through the turbine.
Here is a large dam before the water goes through it.