Hydropower, hydraulic power or water power is power that is derived from the force or energy of moving water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Prior to the widespread availability of commercial electric power, hydropower was used for irrigation, and operation of various machines, such as watermills, textile machines, sawmills, dock cranes, and domestic lifts.
Another method used a trompe to produce compressed air from falling water, which could then be used to power other machinery at a distance from the water.
In hydrology, hydropower is manifested in the force of the water on the riverbed and banks of a river. It is particularly powerful when the river is in flood. The force of the water results in the removal of sediment and other materials from the riverbed and banks of the river, causing erosion and other alterations.
Man has been using a small percentage of the Earth’s water power for a number of years as many large hydroelectric dams have been constructed. But, this renewable energy resource is only a small fraction of the water power this planet has to offer. More recently, researchers have been exploring tidal energy, ocean waves and running streams as sources of renewable energy. The Rance estuary in northern France holds the world’s largest tidal power station that generates electricity at … more