Someone recently pointed out that while we’ve been discussing hydrokinetic energy’s advantages, ongoing development, and other talking points, they were still confused about what exactly hydrokinetic energy is.
Most simply, hydrokinetic energy is the power of moving water. Hydrokinetic turbines harness power from the motion of water, whether it comes from from waves, currents, canals, or any body of moving water. Hydrokinetic energy and wind power work similarly in that a turbine uses the flow of water, or air, to drive a rotor connected to a generator, producing power. As Hydrovolts puts it:
“It is produced by the kinetic or motion energy in a flowing fluid, just like wind power. It is not ‘traditional’ hydropower produced by the pressure of water created by vertical height, as in a dam. Hydrokinetic turbines operate without needing a dam — speed is all you need.”
This difference in how hydrokinetic technologies capture energy, allowing us to generate power without dams, saves us from having to build such expensive and environmentally harmful structures. And, unlike wind power, water is over 800 times denser than air, providing a reliable, predictable, highly concentrated, and largely untapped resource.