Hydroelectricity is a means of generating electricity through the movement of water in a process known as hyrdopower. This technology captures the gravitational energy from flowing water or falling water for conversion into power. Hydroelectric power plants are installed in 150 countries throughout the world and makes up the largest used renewable energy source globally. As a renewable energy source it is considered to be the most cost effective solution for implementation in most countries.
Hydroelectric Energy Facts
China is the leading producer of hydroelectric power which is used domestically. The three largest hydroelectric power plants are found in China, Brazil and Venezuela. As a renewable energy source it is considered to be the most cost effective solution for implementation in most countries.
Hydroelectric Power Plant Types
As with most forms of energy there are options available in the method of energy generation that can be applied for hydropower energy cultivation. These can be applied and a magnitude of scales ranging from locally to nationally.
Dams work by funneling a reservoir of water through a passage that powers turbines. They are the most common form of large scale hydroelectric power used by governments. Dam building requires major construction efforts and can be used by nations to provide temporary labor opportunities for its citizens with the additional benefit of creating a renewable power plant.
The pumped storage systems use multiple reservoirs which generate electricity through the hydropower of water falling or flowing from a reservoir of higher elevation to a lower one. This system is generally used to help boost energy production for times of high demand or peak times. During times of low usage energy is used to pump the water back into higher reservoirs. This system is used similar to a battery to store energy resources for usage in times of need.
Water wheels, also called run of the river, uses the direct current of a river or stream to spin a wheel that powers a turbine. Water levels are a factor in the efficiency of this system and is typically applied on a more localized scale or for personal usage.
Tidal power plants operate in two ways, one uses the tidal ebb and flow to fill reservoirs in the same manner as a pumped storage system while others use the waterwheel scheme to generate smaller continuous energy.
Underground hydroelectric plants transfer water from a naturally higher elevation such as a lake on a mountain or a waterfall and diverges a portion of the water through a tunnel system that captures the hydropower energy.