Writing Task 1 Example Essay: Hydroelectric Power

Updated: May 9

This example essay is from the Writing Task #1 Reading and Lecture on dams and hydroelectric power. If you have not yet read the passage or listened to the lecture, click here.


Example Essay

Both the reading and lecture discuss dams. While the reading says that dams offer positive benefits, the lecture disagrees.


First, the reading claims that dams are renewable energy resources. Hydropower is clean energy. It doesn’t emit harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. However, the lecture insists that dams are not environmentally friendly. They actually produce greenhouse gases. When a dam is created, excess water runs off on to the land and floods the plant life there. Then, bacteria begins to decompose plants. In this process of decay, methane and carbon dioxide are emitted. Also, soil erosion, which happens as a result of dam construction, emits carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the natural surrounding land is changed and this can destroy wildlife and their habitats.


Next, the reading asserts that dams are cost effective. The energy they produce is reliable and so, the cost of hydroelectric power does not fluctuate. In contrast, the lecture argues that dams are not cost effective. They require huge investments. Dam construction in Turkey, Brazil and Mexico has contributed to the debt crises in those countries. Not only that, construction time is lengthy. One dam in Pakistan won’t be completed until 2027 and it will cost three times the initial estimates. The burden of paying for these costly dams often falls on the people.


Finally, the reading states that dams and their surrounding areas can be tourist attractions. Tourists enjoy boating and other water sports on the reservoirs. Hoover Dam’s Lake Mead and the Three Gorges Dam are popular spots for visitors. On the other hand, the lecture points out that dams are risky. Boaters may not be able to see they are in danger. Fatal accidents around dams are more prevalent than deaths caused by dam failures. Rescuers make up twenty-five percent of these fatalities. Moreover, dam failures, if they occur, can cause major damage. In 1975, a dam breach in China killed 171,000 people.



Question: I need help writing my TOEFL essay. I need someone to check the grammar. What do I do?

Answer: Click here.


Question: Will the lecture always oppose the points made in the reading?

Answer: Click here.


If you'd like to improve your Writing Task #1 and you're not sure where to start, TOEFL Land's online course is available here.

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