ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How does Hydroelectric Power Work

Updated on April 15, 2011


For hydroelectric power station is a set of hydraulic structures located in a certain sequence, coupled with a series of machines suitable for the purpose of obtaining the production of electricity from moving water masses.


The energy produced by hydroelectric plants is to be classified for all purposes as renewable energy because, in theory at least, the water can be reused many times for the same purpose without collapse. The concept of renewability is subject to the constancy of the annual volume of inflows integrals.

Classification and Description


The main classification is the one that is made between:


River plants


The water is diverted into a penstock from them is then fed into the turbines that rotate through the water pressure, all of which it is coupled to an alternator that converts the rotational motion into electrical energy. Impressed with the speed of the water turbine is generated through a height difference, called "jump", which translates into hydrodynamic pressure to the portion where the turbines.


Power Plants


Unlike the "power-of-river" is an artificial lake created by the dam of a gorge with a river dam, which then leave the pipelines, which are enriched by a piezometric well (intervening before the turbine), which dampens and avoid the disruptive effects of water hammer (huge overpressures that are generated when the turbine is stopped by the closed line).


Plants with plants accumulating


Unlike the "Power Plants" have a catchment area downstream including: water that has generated electricity during the day through the turbines may be located downstream from the reservoir upstream of the basin during times of low demand energy (eg at night), by pumping, using for this excess electricity produced by power plants of type "always on" and otherwise accumulates. In other words, the basin of the mountain is "charged" during the night and the water masses found at the mountain can be reused even at peak energy demand.


The latter type of plants are those plants collection. They are realized in ternary groups of machines, namely the turbine, pump and electric machinery, being reversible, if necessary works as a generator or motor. If the plant is equipped exclusively with a basin of a reservoir upstream and downstream (thus without a component of "fluent"), the central power station is called closed-loop or the pumping station. In some plants can also take advantage of the reversibility of certain turbines, such as the Francis turbine, which works as a reverse operation of a pump, reducing the cost of installation and maintenance, compared with an acceptable loss of performance.




The hydroelectric plants have the characteristic of being turned on and off in minutes with the imminent opening of the hydraulic gate, thus giving the possibility to easily cover the sudden surges in demand that may occur. In contrast, most nuclear power plants and have longer working time needed to heat the water and are therefore a type of facilities such as "always on" (or "basic").



A problem related to hydropower is the progressive burial in which inevitably undergo, in time, the reservoirs. To avoid this, they must be dredged periodically.


Environmental problems can be set up by the fact that the dams (dams) block the river sediment (sand and gravel) altering the balance between the sediment and erosive activity in the river downstream (erosion of the bed river, and sometimes "cut of the meandering" for increased speed) to the sea where, for less or no sediment is marked by coastal erosion. Large hydroelectric reservoirs in some cases may also have environmental and socio-economic impacts of different levels or severity of the surroundings (change of scenery and natural habitat destruction, population displacement, loss of agricultural areas, etc..) And the feasibility study must be particularly careful especially regarding the accurate analysis of the geology of the slopes and the "shoulders" on which the dam will settle without leaving any details. The only way you can avoid tragedies like the one in the fall of 1963 devastated the valley of Vajont (deleting the town of Spar and two other centers in the valley with 1970 victims).



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)