What is HYDROPOWER? What does HYDROPOWER mean? HYDROPOWER meaning - HYDROPOWER definition - HYDROPOWER pronunciation - HYDROPOWER explanation - How to pronounce HYDROPOWER?
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Hydropower or water power (from the Greek: ????, "water" ) is power derived from the energy of falling water or fast running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower from many kinds of watermills has been used as a renewable energy source for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as gristmills, sawmills, textile mills, trip hammers, dock cranes, domestic lifts, and ore mills. A trompe, which produces compressed air from falling water, is sometimes used to power other machinery at a distance.
In the late 19th century, hydropower became a source for generating electricity. Cragside in Northumberland was the first house powered by hydroelectricity in 1878 and the first commercial hydroelectric power plant was built at Niagara Falls in 1879. In 1881, street lamps in the city of Niagara Falls were powered by hydropower.
Since the early 20th century, the term has been used almost exclusively in conjunction with the modern development of hydroelectric power. International institutions such as the World Bank view hydropower as a means for economic development without adding substantial amounts of carbon to the atmosphere, but dams can have significant negative social and environmental impacts.
As with other forms of economic activity, hydropower projects can have both a positive and a negative environmental and social impact, because the construction of a dam and power plant, along with the impounding of a reservoir, creates certain social and physical changes.
A number of tools have been developed to assist projects.
Most new hydropower project must undergo an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment. This provides a base line understand of the pre project conditions, estimates potential impacts and puts in place management plans to avoid, mitigate, or compensate for impacts.
The Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol is another tool which can be used to promote and guide more sustainable hydropower projects. It is a methodology used to audit the performance of a hydropower project across more than twenty environmental, social, technical and economic topics. A Protocol assessment provides a rapid sustainability health check. It does not replace an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA), which takes place over a much longer period of time, usually as a mandatory regulatory requirement.
The World Commission on Dams final report describes a framework for planning water and energy projects that is intended to protect dam-affected people and the environment, and ensure that the benefits from dams are more equitably distributed.
IFC's Environmental and Social Performance Standards define IFC clients' responsibilities for managing their environmental and social risks.
The World Bank’s safeguard policies are used by the Bank to help identify, avoid, and minimize harms to people and the environment caused by investment projects.
The Equator Principles is a risk management framework, adopted by financial institutions, for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects.