Although scientists are concerned about the impact of global warming on world water supplies, they are also hopeful that energy from water may help to moderate climate change. There are several ways to harness the power of water to produce clean energy without the burning of fossil fuels. Among them are tidal power and wave power.
Tidal power is expensive, and wave power technology is not fully developed. In contrast, hydroelectric power is well established. Hydroelectric power involves building dams across rivers. Once built, hydroelectric dams are cheap to run, and their energy is renewable, as long as rain refills the rivers.
Hydroelectric dams raise many environmental concerns, however. Building dams can damage ecosystems. Moreover, though they do not release carbon dioxide, hydroelectric dams that flood forests may create large amounts of methane, which is itself a powerful greenhouse gas. For these reasons, the use of hydroelectric dams remains controversial.
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