Energy is something that is required by any given society, as it makes it possible for things to run well. Energy is the most essential of the world’s precious resources for economic progress and human well-being. Energy is required for all elements of human activity, including food production, manufacturing, transportation, and communications (Bova, 2018). Human economic activity has relied significantly on fossil fuels, coal, natural gas, and petroleum for its energy demands since the industrial period, with the shortages and increased need to address the energy scarcity and manage it. In developing countries, the construction of dams in high geographical locations has been taken as a solution to the energy crisis and storage.
The Construction of Dams
Dams are critical because they give water to homegrown, modern, and water system needs. Barriers often produce hydroelectric power and work with the waterway routes. In addition to storing and generating energy, they provide water for drinking, washing, cooking, irrigation, and other domestic use. The governments in developing countries have been forced to develop ways of storing energy through the dam. The power can be stored as renewable and hence cannot be depleted compared to other forms of energy such as fossil fuel. This sustainable energy reflects positively on the environment as hydroelectric power has no pollution.
When constructing a dam, it is always right to raise to a slightly higher height, which will permeate storage of much water. It is recommended that a height of about 60 meters should be measured for the wall to sustain energy from production from running water. The dam’s borders are formed initially, with low concrete walls built on both the upstream and downstream sides. Bulldozers are then used to deliver concrete to the region between the walls and spread it in a thin layer. After that, rollers are used to compact the concrete (Butnik, S., & Mozgovyi, A. (2021). A dam is commonly built across a river or stream to make a supply in the valley behind it by holding water that typically streams into it. They are mostly built over dry valleys or valleys with small streams to give a capacity region to water from different places.
Dams are sometimes erected over wide rivers with much water flowing through them. Building a different course to redirect the water would be unreasonable and costly. So, all things being equal, a dry development pit is dug on one side of the waterway, passing on the opposite side open to the stream (Stefoff, 2022). The dry hole is used to build the first section of the dam. When it is finished, new dry land is created on the other side of the river, and the dam’s last paragraph is constructed. Meanwhile, the river runs through gaps in the dam’s completed section, allowing the reservoir to fill behind it.
Dams and Energy Storage
The issue for the twenty-first century is to meet the world’s rapidly expanding energy consumption. Because enormous measures of variable sun-based and wind power limits are being conveyed, the requirement for storage in energy networks is growing. Solar and wind power account for over two-thirds of the energy capacity that is experienced in the world yearly. Pumped hydro energy storage (PHES) accounts for 96% of the global energy capacity. The figure has been contributed by developing countries responsible for building dams to store energy (Fan et al., 2022). Generally, increased dam construction reduces the overdependence on batteries and other non-renewable energy sources.
Using PHES has been seen as less costly, manageable and long-lasting. The dams can also be used for other purposes rather than storing the energy. The hydro pumped systems utilized can store energy for a long time ranging from hours to months. Most of these systems, which have been put up on rivers, can be used with hydroelectric power. During times of low interest, water can be siphoned from a lower to an upper supply, and the putaway energy can be recuperated later (Blakers et al., 2021). The gigantic stockpiling capability of shut circle off-stream siphoned hydro-frameworks will be used now. In such frameworks, water is cycled between two firmly dispersed small supplies situated away from a stream.
The continuance of all industrial production activities is now critical for the long-term viability of modern existence. It is expected to guarantee the continuation of energy interest to accomplish this. For an energy supply to be considered dependable, it should constantly have the option to answer rapidly and dependably to evolving requests. Because of their capacity to store energy on the occasion of popularity, siphoned capacity frameworks can address these necessities (Bayazit et al., 2020). Therefore, in recent years, numerous nations have helped their interests in switching existing hydroelectric power offices over completely by siphoning stockpiling hydroelectric power plants (PHS). As a result, developing countries have had to implement different systems to store the energy produced by the dams.
Many extant PHES systems were created in tandem with a traditional waterway-based hydroelectric framework. Two repositories are shaped at various levels yet near one another. The lower repository is typically immense and arranged on an enormous stream. Conversely, the upper supply is more modest and placed further up on a similar waterway, in a high feeder, or equal valley. Most stream water goes through the framework, giving power before returning to the channel (Fan et al., 2022). Some water is cycled between the two repositories to accomplish energy capacity. Siphoning is usually finished by buying power when costs are low, for example, when the request is low or when different wellsprings of power are abundant.
Saving hydropower using Dams
Hydroelectric power is the third in the world energy source, accounting for around 70% of all sustainable management. Dams, on the other hand, the conventional method of extracting electricity from water, are not as sustainable as you might expect, destroying ecosystems in and around rivers, lowering biodiversity, and affecting water quality. Researchers are now attempting to develop a method for making hydropower more environmentally sustainable. However, the globe requires electricity, and hydropower is adaptable and dependable compared to other renewable energy sources (Fan et al., 2022). Dams can store extra energy produced when the sun shines and the wind blow, and hydroelectric is relatively consistent, unlike solar and wind.
Adverse Effects Caused by Dams
While dams are the best option for hydroelectric power, they may harm most developing countries’ environments. Most dams have been found to disrupt the typical biological systems in the water, including fish and plants adapted to survive in flowing water. For example, in Germany, there was a fish reduction in the salmon fish following the construction of the Poutes dam. Nevertheless, the incorporation of dam construction as energy storage in countries such as Pakistan must take place under special techniques to prevent biodiversity loss. Some of the corrective mechanisms that civil engineers can implement while building dams is constructing shorter walls allowing fish or even plants to cross upstream. Additionally, the constructors can comply with the adaptive management strategy, which lets them build wind turbines safe for flora and fauna growing in the free-flowing rivers (Fan et al., 2022). Generally, the cost-benefit analysis for constructing a dam in the developing countries shows that these countries will have a higher capacity to store energy compared to adverse environmental problems that will result from the same dams.
Dams are critical in providing both primary and supplementary energy through electric power generation. With dams having been constructed since medieval times, the contemporary dam construction practice has rapidly evolved. Modern dams are engineered more aptly as depicted by their power remittance thresholds, choice of geographical placement, and subsequent optimization of dams’ capacities. Power harnessing firms must adopt best practices in their operations. Companies that produce hydroelectric power should have adequate power storage platforms and transition networks. Having adequate infrastructure therein ensures that power firms can meet the market demands and promotes sustainability, which is crucial in power generation and stability. Dams have, however, proven to have various detrimental effects on natural habitats. There have been various cases of dams disturbing ecosystems in the past. Therefore, stakeholders involved in constructing dams must collaborate with other players such as regulators, environmental protection organizations, and geographers to minimize dams’ adverse effects on life forms and the physical environment.
Bayazit, Y., Bakış, R., & Koç, C. (2020). A study on the transformation of multi-purpose dams into pumped-storage hydroelectric power plants by using the GIS model. International Journal of Green Energy, 18(1). Web.
Blakers, A., Stocks, M., Lu, B., & Cheng, C. (2021). A review of pumped hydro energy storage. Progress in Energy, 3(2), 022003. Web.
Bova, R. (2018). How the World Works: A Brief Survey of International Relations (3rd Edition). Pearson Education.
Butnik, S., & Mozgovyi, A. (2021). Prospects of application of roller compacted concrete in hydro schemes of Ukraine. In E3S Web of Conferences (Vol. 280, p. 03004). EDP Sciences.
Fan, P., Cho, M. S., Lin, Z., Ouyang, Z., Qi, J., Chen, J., & Moran, E. F. (2022). Recently constructed hydropower dams were associated with reduced economic production, population, and greenness in nearby areas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 119(8), e2108038119. Web.
Stefoff, R. (2022). Building Dams. Cavendish Square Publishing.