6.9 Hydroelectric Power

2 min readjanuary 9, 2023

Karla Jauregui Sandoval

Karla Jauregui Sandoval

AP Environmental Science ♻️

252 resources
See Units

Hydropower is energy that comes from a turbine that produces energy from the movement of bodies of water.
There are two ways to generate hydroelectric power: dams and tidal waves. 

Image Courtesy of AZoM


How it works 🌊

Dams are built on rivers where the terrain will produce an artificial lake or reservoir.
As the water is released from the reservoir, it flows through a pipe and falls to a lower elevation, which generates kinetic energy. This kinetic energy is used to turn a turbine, which generates electricity. The electricity is then sent to a generator, where it is converted into an electrical current that can be used to power homes, businesses, and other buildings.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Benefits 👍🏻
Drawbacks 👎🏻
  • Water is a renewable source that is found everywhere, often moving
  • Flood control below the dam 
  • Source of irrigation to croplands 
  • Does not release chemical or gas pollutant 
  • Costly 
  • Sedimentation  ➱ Accumulation of sediment and toxins behind the dam 
  • Human Displacement ➱ the placement of dams can affect indigenous land, violating their rights
  • Ecosystem Destruction ➱ affects fish migration patterns because dam blocks path 

Important Dams to Know 

  1. Hoover Dam ➱ provides flood control, water and irrigation for industrial and domestic use as well as hydroelectric power 
  2. Grand Coulee ➱ Largest hydropower producer in the USA
  3. Three Gorges Dam ➱ Controls flood and provides power. Causing landslides and erosion of reservoirs downstream
Browse Study Guides By Unit
🏜Unit 1 – The Living World: Ecosystems
🐠Unit 2 – The Living World: Biodiversity
👪Unit 3 – Populations
🌏Unit 4 – Earth Systems & Resources
🏖Unit 5 – Land & Water Use
⚡️Unit 6 – Energy Resources & Consumption
💨Unit 7 – Atmospheric Pollution
♻️Unit 8 – Aquatic & Terrestrial Pollution
🔥Unit 9 – Global Change
🧐Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
✍️Free Response Questions (FRQs)
📆Big Reviews: Finals & Exam Prep

Stay Connected

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2023 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.