Hydroelectricity has been around for close to 100 years. Hydropower energy has been utilized for over thousands of years. In the United States, hydropower energy is the primary source for electricity.
How does it work?
Hydropower uses flowing water to create energy that can be captured and turned into electricity. Hydropower provides the largest source of renewable energy in the United States.
The most common type of hydropower plant uses a dam on a river to store water in a reservoir; this is called Impoundment hydropower. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which activates a generator to produce electricity. The most famous hydrolelectric Dam would be Hoover Dam pictured below.
The major components of a hydroelectric dam are as follows:
A barrier built across a watercourse to hold back the flow of water and create a reservoir. The reservoir that is formed is, in effect, stored energy.
A pipeline used to convey water, under pressure, from the reservoir to the turbines of a hydropower plant.
A machine that is turned by the force of the fast moving water pushing against its blades. Turbines convert the kinetic energy of the water to mechanical energy.
Connects to the turbine and rotates to produce the electrical energy.
Converts electricity from the generator to usable voltage levels.
6. Transmission Lines
Conduct electricity from the hydropower plant to the electric distribution system. Transmission line voltages are normally 115 kilovolt or larger.
Hydropower For Home Use
Not everyone can have a Hoover Dam for their own personal use. however with new technology, there are systems available that will allow you to generate hydroelectricity from your own small, personal turbine. One example is seen below.
Hydro-Induction Power is the name of this alternative energy source. It has been producing quality hydro systems for over 20 years. HI-Power systems are ideal for remote sites where water is available a long distance from power needs. High transmission voltage of 100+ volts AC can be sent over a mile, if necessary. It is then stepped down to battery voltage. These units can produce from 30W to 3600W continuous power.
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Disadvantages of Hydropower