Hydropower

Hydropower is the term referring to the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy, accounting for 16 percent of global electricity generation – 3,427 terawatt-hours of electricity production in 2010 and is expected to increase about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years.

The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. The average cost of electricity from a hydro plant larger than 10 megawatts is 3 to 5 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour. Hydro is also a flexible source of electricity since plants can be ramped up and down very quickly to adapt to changing energy demands. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and has a considerably lower output level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuel powered energy plants.