Let's Explore Hydropower!
What is Hydropower?
Water is another very important energy resource. People, plants and animals all depend on water. Hydropower is energy that comes from the force of moving water. The word "hydro" means water. Hydropower is a renewable energy source too. The sun heats the oceans turning it into water vapor. This is called evaporation. When the water vapor rises it turns into clouds. The cold air above the earth mixes with the clouds and releases rain or snow called precipitation. This water cycle goes on forever making this a renewable energy source.
Hydropower is also a clean and environmentally friendly source of energy. There is no fuel to burn so there are no harmful emissions put into the air.
Since ancient times people have found ways to harness the energy produced by moving water. For example the water wheel was first used around 200 B.C. for tasks like grinding grain and irrigation. Over 2,000 years ago the Greeks used water as an energy source to turn water wheels for grinding wheat into flour. The running water would flow over the wheel into buckets attached to the wheel and force the wheel to turn. In the early 1800's Americans and Europeans used water wheels in factories to power machines like in saws in lumbermills.