Sustainable Living: 3M FuturewiseTown PlanIntroductionGo BackGo Next3M

Hydroelectric power

You can't store electricity but you can store energy

Hydroelectric power stations (called HEPs) store energy like a battery in a
torch stores energy. HEPs involve building huge dams and flooding valleys
to create reservoirs that store water.

They generate electricity without causing pollution, but there are
problems with building HEP stations:

  • They are expensive to build.
  • They can spoil the countryside with large, ugly buildings and some noise.
  • Creating the reservoir behind the dam can involve flooding fertile farmland and some people losing their homes.
  • River sediment that would normally be deposited downstream in flood plains, fertilising soil, builds up behind the dam instead. This means the land downstream becomes less fertile (increasing the use of artificial fertiliser) and coastal beaches and delta lose their sediment.
  • The reservoir affects the local habitat and wildlife.
  • Fish can get injured or killed in the turbines.
  • The system is not an efficient use of electricity.
  • There are very few places in the world where a HEP station can be built.

 How do HEPs work?