Hydroelectric power is renewable
These infrastructures serve different purposes, such as: protection against floods; contributing to the development of human activities: for river navigation; enabling the transport of goods; water transfers, i.e. the transfer of large quantities of water from one region to another; supplying cities, industries and irrigated crops; as well as the generation of hydroelectric power. In the following text, only structures intended for the production of electric power, mainly dams and hydroelectric power plants, will be discussed.
The main function of a dam, on a river, is to regulate the water level to establish a constant or slightly variable water flow. At its outlet, the dam can feed, by gravity, a channel or pipe that carries the water to its consumers. The body of water itself can give rise to human activities. Also, an attempt is often made to create a water storage volume to counteract the irregularities of the water resource at different times, or to attenuate floods, by increasing the height of the dam. (See: Mali: l’aménagement hydroélectrique de Sélingué).
How hydroelectric power works
At the end of the 19th century, hydroelectric power became a source for generating electricity. The first hydroelectric power plant was built in Niagara Falls in 1879. By 1881, streetlights in the city of Niagara Falls were powered by hydroelectric power. In 1882, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operating in the United States in Appleton, Wisconsin.
A classic hydroelectric power plant is a system consisting of three parts: a powerhouse where electricity is produced; a dam that can be opened and closed to control the flow of water; and a reservoir in which water can be stored. Water from behind the dam flows through an inlet and presses against the blades of a turbine, causing them to move. The turbine turns a generator to produce electricity. The amount of electricity that can be generated depends on how far the water flows and how much of it moves through the system. Electricity can be transported by long electric cables to homes, factories and businesses.
Types of hydroelectric power plants
It is practically impossible to determine the exact date on which man managed to store water massively for later use, however what we can know is the date on which water storage served not only for the consumption of the vital liquid, but also to generate electricity.
When the plant began operating, it produced enough electricity to light Roger’s house, the plant itself and a few neighboring buildings, something that did not seem like a great advance, but with time and the development of technology, today it is one of the main sources of electricity in the world.
History of hydropower pdf
Hydropower is a type of energy-efficient renewable energy that harnesses the kinetic energy of flowing water. This means that the cost of generating electricity is very low. But its use is not more widespread as it can only be produced in very specific locations.
Hydropower is a totally ecological type of energy as it is clean and does not produce toxic emissions. Reservoirs are not only built to store water for human consumption or irrigation. They are also used to generate hydropower.
The water used by hydroelectric power plants comes mainly from dams, which can be built by taking advantage of geological differences in level, i.e., by taking advantage of waterfalls. But there is another fundamental element that must be taken into account when we talk about hydroelectric power plants. They must be located in places where there is rain, because rain is essential in the process of generating this type of clean energy.