About Hydroelectric Power
how hydropower is generated
Hydropower is electricity generated using the energy of moving water. Rain or melted snow, usually originating in hills and mountains, create streams and rivers that eventually run to the ocean. The energy of that moving water can be substantial.
A typical hydro plant is a system with three parts: a generation plant where the electricity is produced, a dam or canal that can control water flow, and either a river or reservoir to supply the water. To generate electricity hydropower uses falling or flowing water to spin a turbine (part of the generation plant) . The rotating turbine blades spin a generator that converts that mechanical energy into electricity. The amount of electricity generated from each power plant depends on the quantity of the flowing water and the height from which it falls.
types of hydroelectric facilities
There are a few different types of hydropower facilities, all of which are based on the kinetic energy of moving water:
Conventional or Impoundment Hydro
Conventional or impoundment facilities use a dam to store water from a river in an artificial reservoir. When electricity is needed water is released from this reservoir, flows through and spins the turbine, which activates a generator that produces electricity.
Run-of-River or diversion facilities
This type of hydroelectric facility, also known as a “run-of-river” facility, channels part of a flowing river through a canal, either with or without an accompanying dam.
pumped hydro storage facilities
Like large water batteries, pumped hydro storage facilities are designed to store electricity that is derived from other energy sources, such as offshore wind farms, and then use that energy when it is needed most. Water is pumped uphill from one reservoir into a second reservoir at a higher elevation, and then released back through the turbines.
Hydroelectric power is a source of renewable energy. As a way of generating electricity, hydropower has several key advantages that contribute to its widespread usage: