Hydraulic power has been used since ancient times. Traces of hydraulic structures have been found which date back to the Mesopotamian civilisation over 2500 years before our era.
Hydroelectricity, in other words using water to generate power, originated in the 19th century. Since then, it has undergone successive periods of success and decline, but it is one of the most mature forms of renewable energy. It represents over 16% of the electricity generated in the world. Until now, only about 20% of the world’s hydroelectricity potential is currently being exploited.
There are many arguments in favour of hydroelectricity. Its overall efficiency greatly exceeds that of photovoltaic, solar and wind systems:
Hydroelectric power is profitable
- Hydroelectricity = tried and tested technologies
- Attractive specific costs
- Greater availability and productivity compared to other renewable energy sources
- Reliable operation: low running and maintenance costs
- Extremely long-lasting equipment (up to 80 years!)
Hydroelectric power promotes independence
- From the rising prices of conventional energy sources
- From difficulties connecting to electricity grids, which may be far away from the user
Hydroelectric power is eco-friendly
- No waste means no pollution
- Low impact on the natural environment, especially for small hydraulic installations
Hydroelectric power contributes to development
- Due to the spread of hydroelectric resources throughout the world
- Energy = a key to development of isolated rural populations, in terms of health, education, lighting, heating, cooling, communication, etc.