A hydroelectric power plant is a plant which converts energy of water (Kinetic and potential energy) into electricity (or electrical energy). These power plants operate on renewable and green energy. Which means they are not depleting any limited energy resource and at the same time not causing any harm (pollution) to our environment.
Working of hydroelectric power plant
Above image shows a schematic diagram of a Hydro power plant
To convert water energy into electricity, first water is stored in a dam (or reservoir). This stored water is then supplied to a hydraulic turbine, which converts energy of water into Mechanical energy. This mechanical energy is in the form of rotary motion of turbine shaft. This rotating turbine shaft is then connected to an electrical alternator, which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
There are basically three types of turbines used in a hydro power plant
However, Francis turbine is most popular.
Advantages of hydroelectric power plant
- Hydro power plant produces clean energy without polluting environment
- It reduces our dependency on foreign nations for fuel (like oil and gas)
- It operates on a renewable energy source (river water)
- Water reservoirs (dams) of a hydroelectric power plant can be used for recreational purposes like swimming, fishing, boating etc.
- It can also be used for flood control, irrigation, water supply etc.
- Hydro power plant is reliable
- Once build it can fulfill load demands for decades
- It has very low operating cost compared to thermal power plant
Disadvantages of hydroelectric power plant
- Hydro power plant destroys local flora and fauna
- Building a hydroelectric power plant is quite expensive but it requires less maintenance and less operating cost
- It requires a minimum quantity of water supply throughout the year
Featured image source:
By Tennessee Valley Authority; SVG version by Tomia – This file was derived from: Hydroelectric dam.png, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3302749