What Is Hydroelectric Power?
Hydropower or hydroelectricity is a method of generating electricity with kinetic energy of moving water. Water flows in a stream from melted snow on mountains or rain and eventually moves to ocean. Running water moves blades of turbine and run generator for producing electricity. This method of producing energy is used since ancient times, as Greeks uses running water to grind wheat. In 1879, very first Hydroelectric plant was built at Niagara Falls which became a milestone for further developments in this area. Industrial revolution in late 19th century was one major reason of using power of water for different purposes. Hushing was introduced in that period, which later evolved into hydraulic mining.
How hydroelectric power plant work:
Hydropower plant is combination of three different parts, an electric plant, a dam and a reservoir. Electric plant is the unit where electricity is produced, dams store water and can be open or closed to control flow of water, reservoir keeps extra storage and provide it to dam when required.
Dam: Conventional Hydroelectric plants rely on a dam that keeps water and act as recreational lake at time of requirement. Another purpose served by dams is that it increases the height of water so that in can fall at speed with more kinetic energy.
The turbine: main purpose of using running water in power plant is to rotate blades of turbine. This turbine generates electricity with rotation of blades and transfers this energy to batteries or grids.
Generator: Generators produce current from rotation of blades and convert DC current into useable form, AC current. This is also known as heart of hydropower plant and is basis on a shaft, excitor, rotor and stator.
The Transformer: transformer is important part of Hydroelectric plant. It regulates the voltage of electricity generated and then moves it towards storage area.
Power lines: to carry power out of the plant four different types of wires are used. Three carry current that is produced simultaneously while one carries neutral current.
Outflow pipelines: once water serves its purpose of moving the blades, it flows out from the hydropower plant. To carry this water out tailraces are used that move water to river or ocean.
|Note: This picture shows how water is released in dams and pressure of water passes through turbines to produce electricity||Note: This video shows how hydro electricity plant works to produce renewal for of energy|
Advantages and disadvantages of Hydroelectric plant:
Different advantages are associated with Hydroelectric as compared to other renewable sources of energy, like
- As this power comes from water is clean source of energy and does not add pollutants to air like burned fossil fuels and natural gas.
- For every country this is a domestic source of energy
- Flow of water can be controlled, therefore it is always available at time of need
- Once dam is constructed and we can get energy at constant rate
- Used water can be used to irrigate fields.
There are some disadvantages of having Hydroelectric as source of energy
- With construction of dam wildlife and fishes get affected
- Studies have shown that large Dam Construction could cause the tendency of increasing earthquakes
- Hydropower plants cannot build anywhere
- Construction period and cost of Hydroelectric plant is high
Hydropower plants always took advantage of natural occurring like rain, water from melted snow and increasing temperature. Due to atmospheric changes on daily basis, this world loses a small amount of water but at the same time inner part of earth releases some water because of volcanic activities. These two amounts are almost equal therefore there is always a balance in availability of water. We all know water changes its form, from liquid to solid, and from solid to gas. All these forms of water move around our planet with wind that is produced through solar activities of sun. So we can also say that wind also plays important role in hydrologic cycle.