Monday, October 22, 2012

Hydropower for Base Load Power

Demand for electricity is not steady; it goes up and down. People use more electricity during the day when they are awake and using electrical appliances and less at night when they are asleep. People also use more electricity when the weather is very cold or very hot.

Electric utility companies have to produce electricity to meet these changing demands. Base load power is the electricity that utilities have to generate all the time. For that reason, base load power should be cheap and reliable. Hydropower meets both of these requirements.

Generating electricity with hydropower is the cheapest way to generate electricity in the U.S., and the fuel supply—flowing water—is always available.

Hydro plants are more energy efficient than most thermal power plants, too. That means they waste less energy to produce electricity. In thermal power plants, a lot of energy is lost as heat. Hydro plants are about 90 percent efficient at converting the kinetic energy of the moving water into electricity.

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