Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

What is hydroelectric power?

What is hydroelectric power?Did you know?

  • Hydro energy was first used by the Ancient Greeks through waterwheels. These powered and turned large wheels which would grind their wheat into flour
  • Hydro energy produces about 20% of the total electricity in the world
  • There are approximately 200 hydroelectric power plants in the UK (mainly in the mountains of Scotland and Wales)

Hydro history

Hydropower, or power from falling water, has been used for thousands of years- but it’s only now that we use it to create electricity.

In the past people used falling water to turn a waterwheel to grind their grain. The first house in the world to be powered by hydroelectricity was Cragside House, in Northumberland, England, in 1878.

Hydropower was not used on an industrial scale until the 20th century because hydroelectric power plants needed to be located on a water source. This meant that until the technology used to transmit electricity over long distances was developed, hydro energy could not be used on a big scale.

Related links