Hydroelectric and Geothermal Power

Hydroelectric and Geothermal Power

Christopher Smith

April 14, 2014


Long-Term Hydroelectric and Geothermal Power

        Hydroelectric power and geothermal energy provide alternatives to electricity for society needs. It is argued that both forms of energy are destructive to the environment and should not be used. While the concern for the environment is a reasonable question, finding Long-term solutions to provide energy for people and production is also needed. Minimizing the effects of population and development has led to many different techniques, that one day will bring a safe, clean environment.

Hydroelectric power

        When discussing hydroelectric power, no one can help to think of the Hover Damn. According to Vegas.com  (2014), “Named one of the Top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century, Hoover Dam continues to draw crowds more than 70 years after its creation” (Hoover dam description). Hoover Dam is an iconic symbol of the industrial age. For 70 years this dam has provided safe, clean water and electricity to millions of residents in Las Vegas, Nevada from some of the most sediment filled, unsanitary water know. With the Hoover Dam’s 17 generators producing 4 billion kilowatts of electricity a year, residents and industry can have power in the middle of the desert.

The Hoover Dam has withstood the test of time, it is known as a reliable source of power. One the disadvantage side of things, the Hoover Dam has come at a cost to both the environment and to people.

        According to Jacques  (2014), “Take away the dams, and the Cocopa Indians, whose ancestors fished and farmed the Delta for more than a millennium, might have a chance of avoiding cultural extinction. Take away the dams, and the Colorado would again bring its nutrients to the Gulf of California, helping that depleted fishery to recover the status it held a half-century ago as an unparalleled repository of marine life” (para. 10).

        The Hoover Dam has poisoned the landscape with salts that once went to the ocean. Hydroelectric power negatively impacts the animal life and plant life throughout the region. The choice to remove the hoover Dam is a difficult one. The cost of what it is doing to the environment and how it has nearly culturally extinct a Native American tribe has to be weighed out with the benefit made for water and energy to millions of others in Las Vegas.

Geothermal energy

        Geo thermal energy at the personal home front will usually yield a decent amount of usable heat for water and air temperatures in homes, but large-scale systems have some people worried. On Big Island, Hawai’i geothermal activity is apparent with their active volcanoes. It is like a candy store to most scientists to understand why volcanoes occur and what they are made of. Some scientist has found the heat given off can be made to provide power, by boiling water to produce steam that will turn turbines.


        Hawai’i is also known for the indigenous culture of the islands. Many individuals throughout the island still practice and believe in their ancestor’s words of the gods. Any disruption of the volcanoes in the indigenous eyes would mean catastrophic occurrences that would wipe out all life on the islands. Open venting of geothermal gases and liquids rife with toxic chemicals and heavy metals, poor environmental monitoring, control and reporting, corporate lies, lax oversight has many resident questioning the safety of what is proposed as clean green energy (Clean Technica, 2014). These concerns added to the belief of Pele- the Hawaiian Goddess of Fire has many just wanting the facility gone.


        The American government has shown many times that Native intrests are not on the top of the list. With the evidence of poor monitoring and the changes that have occurred, it becomes hard not to side with the residents of Big Island. It should also be noted that the gasses vented, naturally occurs as well but on what scale in comparison. Hawaii Electric Light Company generates most of its power through burning of trash and oil, so geothermal is a step in the right direction. Many residents are for the green movement, but believe solar power is where Hawai’i should be focusing on.


        In conclusion, hydroelectric power has shown its ability to survive the test of time. Hydroelectric power can provide clean water and electric to millions of people, but the cost to the environment and indigenous cultures has been huge and should not go un-noticed. In answer to hydroelectric problem, many scientist hopes geothermal energy may hold the answer to a more modern and safer energy source. My personal view is more money and engineering should go into wind and solar technology. Although solar and wind is not perfect, the harm created by them is much less and far more adaptable to many other areas.


Clean Technica. (2014). Hawaii residents raise serious concerns about pgv, geothermal energy’s clean energy credentials. Retrieved from http://cleantechnica.com/2012/04/28/hawaii-residents-raise-serious-concerns-about-pgv-geothermal-energys-clean-energy-credentials/

Jacques, L. (2014). The struggle over dams, displaced people and the environment. Retrieved from http://www.alternet.org/story/46809/the_struggle_over_dams,_displaced_people_and_the_environment

Vegas.com. (2014). Hoover Dam. Retrieved from http://www.vegas.com/attractions/near-las-vegas/hoover-dam/

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