Hydropower is renewable energy source that is derived from the energy of moving water. Hydropower is not only used to create electricity but also for some other purposes such as irrigation. People have started using force of the moving water very early, mostly for irrigation purposes, and according to current data irrigation has been used in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia since the 6th millennium BC.
The modern use of hydropower refers mostly to hydroelectricity, and we are talking here about the renewable energy source that satisfies around 20% of world’s demand for electricity.
The long history is certainly one of the most important reasons why there are today so many hydroelectric power plants installed in the world, but there are other important reasons too. First of all hydroelectric power plants are not connected with greenhouse gas emissions like fossil fuels are, and they are considered to be environmentally friendly.
Second, hydroelectric power plants have costs comparable to fossil fuels, meaning that they have good economics, and their costs are totally immune to increase in fossil fuel prices because they do not need fossil fuels to generate electricity. They also have very good lifespan of about 100 years, and relatively low maintenance costs since most plants are automated.
The only real downside is that huge dams have big startup costs, but hydropower isn’t all about big projects, as lately there has been also a trend of increased popularity regarding the micro hydro systems.
As you can see there are certainly more than one reason that make hydropower such a popular energy option across the globe.