hydroelectric power

Hydro Power

hydroelectric power station

The Four Major Components
How Much Electricity Can a Hydroelectric Plant Make

Hydroelectric power plants capture the energy of falling water to generate electricity.

A turbine converts the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy. Then a generator converts the mechanical energy from the turbine into electrical energy.
Hydroplants range in size from "micro-hydros" that power only a few homes to huge schemes like the Snowy River System that provide electricity for millions of people.

Most conventional hydroelectric plants include four major components (see
graphic below):

hydroelectric power plant animation

  Dam

Raises the water level of the river to create falling water.
Also controls the flow of water. The reservoir that is formed is, in effect,
 stored energy.  Turbine The force of falling water pushing against the turbine's blades causes the turbine to spin. A water turbine is much like a windmill,  except the energy is provided by falling water instead of wind. The turbine converts the kinetic energy of falling water into mechanical energy.  Generator Connected to the turbine by shafts and possibly gears so
 when the turbine spins it causes the generator to spin also. Converts the
 mechanical energy from the turbine into electric energy. Generators in
 hydropower plants work just like the generators in other types of power
 plants.   Transmission lines Conduct electricity from the hydropower plant to homes and business.


How Much Electricity Can a Hydroelectric Plant Make?

The amount of electricity a hydropower plant produces depends on two
factors:

How Far the Water Falls.

The farther the water falls, the more power it has. Generally, the distance that the water falls depends on the size of the dam. The higher the dam, the farther the water falls and the more power it has. Scientists would say that the power of falling water is "directly proportional" to the distance it falls. In other words, water falling twice as far has twice as much energy. More water falling through the turbine will produce more power. The amount of water available depends on the amount of water flowing down the river. Bigger rivers have more flowing water and can produce more energy. Power is also directly proportional" to river flow. A river with twice the amount of flowing water as another river can produce twice as much energy.

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