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Role of Hydroelectric Energy in Mitigating the Greenhouse Effect

Global warming and hydroelectric power have a complex relationship. On the one side, it helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuel combustion. On the other hand, shifting patterns of precipitation, which reduce river flow, are projected to have an impact on water supply as well as hydropower output. Electricity is necessary for human survival, well-being, but also long-term development. Visuals of the planet taken at night reveal the zones of wealth, which are populated by individuals who have accessibility to electricity. Nevertheless, roughly 20% of the world ‘s populace is still without lights, refrigerators, electronics, decent education, or water supply (Moran et al., 2018).

Lighting denotes socioeconomic progress, but darkness is a major worry for long sustainability. Well over 1.2 billion people globally, mostly in Asia as well as Africa, do not have access to power (about 80 percent are in rural areas). Advocates of hydropower expansion argue that it is “clean” but also “green,” and hence may help to assist low-carbon development.

To combat climate change, power must be generated from sources that emit less greenhouse gases (GHG). Hydropower, as a low-emitter, may help safeguard a worldwide public good: the global climate, while also promoting economic growth and social development. This promise is what has pushed hydro power back into the spotlight.Hydropower is a clean, renewable, and environmentally friendly energy source that accounts for around 78 percent of renewable electricity and 16 percent of global electricity generation. It contributes significantly to reducing GHG footprints as well as guaranteeing energy production stability. If contrasted to standard coal power plants, hydropower prevents the production of roughly 3 GT CO2 per year, or around 9% of global yearly CO2 output (Lima et al. 2020). In essence, it is a source of energy which produces few greenhouse emissions.Additional advantage of hydropower would be that it is among the most affordable alternative energy sources, and it is typically cost-competitive given today’s market electricity prices. It requires a significant upfront investment but also has a long lifespan plus low running as well as servicing costs.Hydropower has one of the greatest conversion efficiency of any recognized alternative fuel. Furthermore, it demonstrates exceptional dependability, adaptability, and a wide range of project scales as well as sizes, allowing hydropower to suit both centralized urban and industrial demands and dispersed rural needs (Berga, 2016). Because wind and solar energy are intermittent and very variable, there are substantial synergies between hydropower, wind energy, and solar energy. Hydropower, on the other hand, can compensate for unpredictability and meet peak demand. Furthermore, pumped storage power plants, which offer 97.5 percent of worldwide energy storage in electricity networks, are the only mechanism now capable of storing energy in a major and effective fashion.

Since the dawn of the twenty century, hydropower generating has grown in popularity. Hydropower is expected to grow significantly in the future decades, mostly in developing countries and emerging economies. Hydropower development is critical in climate change mitigation scenarios.

Finally, the general view on hydroelectric is that this was a low-cost, well-established technique that significantly contributes to global warming mitigation and, in regards to water supplies, may play a major role in climate change adaptation.Nevertheless, considerable consideration is necessary to offset hydropower’s significant environmental and socioeconomic consequences. In the following decades, around a terawatt of capacity might be added.


Berga, L. (2016). The role of hydropower in climate change mitigation and adaptation: a review. Engineering2(3), 313-318.

Lima, M. A., Mendes, L. F. R., Mothé, G. A., Linhares, F. G., de Castro, M. P. P., Da Silva, M. G., & Sthel, M. S. (2020). Renewable energy in reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Reaching the goals of the Paris agreement in Brazil. Environmental Development33, 100504.

Moran, E. F., Lopez, M. C., Moore, N., Müller, N., & Hyndman, D. W. (2018). Sustainable hydropower in the 21st century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences115(47), 11891-11898.


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