How does the production of water energy work?


The Friday for Future and Extinction Rebellion demonstrations have shown that people are no longer willing to take the slowly developing measures of politicians in climate change. It is about time that issues change more quickly in order to have an impact. One type of renewable energy is water power.

What is water energy?

Water power is actually kinetic energy. It is activated when water flows from a mountain into a valley for example. It is also generated in changing tides, wherever they happen to be. This kinetic energy can be transformed into electric power. This form of power generation is relevant in rainy areas near coasts or in mountains. Power generation also works at rivers. Here, however, the river traffic has to be taken into consideration.

Possible use of water energy

Water energy may operate big water wheels that drive mills or machines. Especially in developing countries, this form of power generation is widely spread. Operators are more flexible when they use water power for creating electricity.

There are also tide power plants that make use of the height difference between the water levels of high and low tide in order to operate a generator by the water current flowing through a turbine from both sides. There are also water current power plants who power a turbine. Watch how the mechanism works in this video. A similar source of kinetic power is provided by a wave power plant.

Pumped storage hydro power stations work a little different: Water is pumped into a higher located basin with energy gained by solar systems over the day. In the evening, the water flows back into the valley and thereby operates turbines. This process enables the operator to store large amounts of energy.

Disadvantages of water energy

In areas like Europe, there is a lot of water available due to the oceans and the rain. The building of water power plants can, however, interfere severely into nature. The power plants in the ocean might also harm the fish as they use the current for their navigation. It is also very expensive to build water power plants as the material has to last for decades in the water. Please find more information on studying Renewable here.