ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources: Energy: Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroelectricity
- Renewable energy source.
- Cheap to maintain as water-transports itself to plants.
- Very clean energy source.
- Easy to use.
- Very versatile, that is many uses.
- Large lakes are multi-purpose can also be used for tourism, recreation, sport, irrigation, fishing water supply among others.
- Urbanization is enhanced as industrial towns grow at or close to HEP stations.
- Cools and provides moisture to local environment.
- The world’s best sites are already used only a few good remaining good sites.
- Expensive to build, for example the James Bay scheme in Canada cost US$50 billion.
- Large lakes cause crustal instability for example Lake Kariba.
- Downstream from the lake, aquatic life is destroyed as little water gets there.
- Silt supply downstream is cut off, affecting agriculture negatively.
- Siltation’s cuts short the lifespan of an HEP plant.
- Settlements are destroyed by flooding of lakes as well as roads, rails and other infrastructure, therefore resettlement must occur.
- Large areas of land suitable of agriculture and settlement are taken up.
- Water-borne diseases such as bilharzia, malaria and river blindness multiply from the stagnant water.
- Tension between nations increase due to trapping of water and silt by one country.
- Cannot power motor vehicles.
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