Environmental impact of hydraulic projects
Water resources are a reliable source of energy because they are both inexhaustible and widely available throughout the territory. Like every natural resource, it is intermittent, but still reliable in the long-term.
Water resources are equipped with high specific energy: for example, water is 800 times denser than air, so the thrust it exerts on the blades of an impeller is considerably greater than that exerted by wind.
Hydroelectric plants use proven technology and this knowledge of the resource has resulted in a high degree of technological development.
Increased awareness of the limited availability of resources and the need to exploit them sustainably and in equilibrium with the processes that ensure the survival of ecosystems has favoured the diffusion of mini-hydro plants in the hydraulic projects.
Micro-hydro facilities have a very low environmental impact, they are small in size, are often integrated in existing hydraulic projects and therefore have great significance in terms of sustainability in the generation of electricity.
From an environmental point of view, the benefits related to the implementation of micro electrical plants are significant: a service provided to areas that are otherwise isolated or accessible through hydraulic projects of a greater impact, the implementation of a production regionalisation policy, a reduction in the dependence on energy from conventional sources in the area in which the plant is built and, lastly, zero emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants.
As for the negative impacts on the environment, it is the responsibility of the designer/implementer to try to minimise them. Negative issues include the occupation of the soil, the transformation of the territory and any possible alterations of the flora and fauna.