This power source is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 32 percent of global hydropower in 2010. The cost of hydroelectricity is low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. It is a flexible source of electricity since plants can be ramped up and down very quickly to adapt to changing energy demands. However, damming interrupts the flow of rivers and can harm local ecosystems, and building large dams and reservoirs often involves displacing people and wildlife.
This energy source is an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and uses little land. Disadvantages are: increased costs, a need to use storage, a need to upgrade the grid, or a lowered ability to supplant conventional production. Many of the largest operational onshore wind farms are located in the US and the UK.
Many solar power plants are located in deserts. Advantages are that the power source of the sun is free, production of solar energy produces no pollution, most systems do not require any maintenance during their lifespan, most systems have a life span of 30 to 40 years, and they are extremely cost effective. The primary disadvantage to solar energy is the upfront cost.
Biomass energy may be found anywhere. It is theoretically inexhaustible fuel source. When direct combustion of plant mass is not used to generate energy, there is minimal environmental impact. However it could contribute a great deal to global warming and particulate pollution if directly burned. It is still an expensive source, and on a small scale there is most likely a net loss of energy.
Nuclear power plants provide about 6% of the world’s energy with the US, France, and Japan together accounting for about 50% of nuclear generated electricity. The advantages are: nuclear power generation does emit...