How Renewable Energy Works
Hydroelectric power is generated by the force of falling water. It’s one of the cleanest sources of energy, and it’s also reliable and competitive in price. Water is needed to run a hydroelectric power-generating unit. Hydroelectric power plants convert the kinetic energy contained in falling water into electricity.
Typically hydroelectric stations use either the natural drop of the river or build a dam across the river to raise the water level and provide the drop needed to create the needed force. Water at the higher or upper level goes through the intake into a pipe which carries it to the turbine. The turbine acts like a water wheel that converts the water into mechanical power. The turbine is connected to a generator, and when the turbine is set in motion it causes the generator to move, creating clean electricity. The falling water, having served its purpose, exits the generating station through the draft tube and the tailrace where it rejoins the river.
Benefits of Hydro Generation
- Using this type of energy to generate electricity is not dependent upon the price of uranium, oil, or other types of fuel. This makes electricity costs lower and more stable, one of its most significant advantages
- The pollution created by hydroelectric energy generation is quite minimal. It also does not produce radioactive waste or involve the environmental impact of fuel being transported to it
- It doesn't require many employees to run a hydroelectric station as most plants of this type are largely automated. This is another one of the advantages which help keep the cost of hydroelectricity low
- Hydroelectric power stations can be set up in almost any size, depending upon the river or stream used to operate them; big enough to power a single home, factory, small town, or large city
- Another of its advantages is that hydroelectric is a renewable form of energy, like wind and solar; it does not rely upon finite resources like natural gas or coal to generate power
- Hydroelectric stations can operate for many years after they are built. Wikipedia.org states that a number of operational hydro stations were constructed fifty to one-hundred years ago; in contrast to this, IAEA.org indicates that the "design life" of nuclear power plants is generally thirty to forty years
- Small hydro electricity generation systems sometimes offer more economic advantages for home owners than solar power, and tend to last longer than solar panels do
The above-mentioned factors make hydroelectric a form of energy generation which offers advantages with regard to cost, pollution, flexibility of installation, and conservation of resources.