Showing posts with label hydro energy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hydro energy. Show all posts

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Hydropower project

       Types of Hydropower

There are three types of hydropower facilities: impoundment, diversion, and pumped storage. Some hydropower plants use dams and some do not. The images below show both types of hydropower plants.

Impoundment The most common type of hydroelectric power plant is an impoundment facility. An impoundment facility, typically a large hydropower system, uses a dam to store river water in a reservoir. Water released from the reservoir flows through a turbine, spinning it, which in turn activates a generator to produce electricity. The water may be released either to meet changing electricity needs or to maintain a constant reservoir level.

Diversion A diversion, sometimes called run-of-river, facility channels a portion of a river through a canal or penstock. It may not require the use of a dam

Pumped Storage When the demand for electricity is low, a pumped storage facility stores energy by pumping water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir. During periods of high electrical demand, the water is released back to the lower reservoir to generate electricity.

Sizes of Hydropower Plants

Facilities range in size from large power plants that supply many consumers with electricity to small and micro plants that individuals operate for their own energy needs or to sell power to utilities.

Large Hydropower

Although definitions vary, we define large hydropower as facilities that have a capacity of more than 50 MW.

Medium Hydropower

Although definitions vary, we define medium hydropower as facilities that have a capacity of 10 MW to 50 MW.

Small Hydropower

Although definitions vary, we define small hydropower as facilities that have a capacity of below 10 MW.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydropower

Hydropower offers advantages over other energy sources but faces unique environmental challenges.


Hydropower relies on the water cycle, which is driven by the sun, thus it's a renewable power source. Hydropower is a fueled by water, so it's a clean fuel source. Hydropower doesn't pollute the air like power plants that burn fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas.
Hydropower is generally available as needed; engineers can control the flow of water through the turbines to produce electricity on demand.
Hydropower plants provide benefits in addition to clean electricity. Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that offer a variety of recreational opportunities, notably fishing, swimming, and boating. Most hydropower installations are required to provide some public access to the reservoir to allow the public to take advantage of these opportunities. Other benefits may include water supply and flood control.


Fish populations can be impacted if fish cannot migrate upstream past impoundment dams to spawning grounds or if they cannot migrate downstream to the ocean. Upstream fish passage can be aided using fish ladders or elevators, or by trapping and hauling the fish upstream by truck. Downstream fish passage is aided by diverting fish from turbine intakes using screens or racks or even underwater lights and sounds, and by maintaining a minimum spill flow past the turbine.

Hydropower can impact water quality and flow. Hydropower plants can cause low dissolved oxygen levels in the water, a problem that is harmful to riparian (riverbank) habitats and is addressed using various aeration techniques, which oxygenate the water. Maintaining minimum flows of water downstream of a hydropower installation is also critical for the survival of riparian habitats.

New hydropower facilities impact the local environment and may compete with other uses for the land. Those alternative uses may be more highly valued than electricity generation. Humans, flora, and fauna may lose their natural habitat. Local cultures and historical sites may be impinged upon. Some older hydropower facilities may have historic value, so renovations of these facilities must also be sensitive to such preservation concerns and to impacts on plant and animal life.

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