Hydroelectricity Facts

1.  How Hydroelectricity Works

Hydroelectric systems convert the mechanical energy of moving water into electricity using a hydro-turbine generator.

2.  Calculating Hydro-Power Outpu

The amount of electricity a hydro turbine system is capable of producing depends on gravity, head height, and amount of water flow.

3.  High Head Hydro-Turbine

Is a hydroelectric system that takes advantage of a high head height, perhaps from a flow of water traveling down from a reservoir.  High head systems require less water flow to operate.

4.  Low Head Hydro-Turbine

A low head hydro turbine requires a large water flow to operate efficiently.

5.  Hydroelectric Dam

A hydroelectric system that uses a reservoir of water and a penstock to lead water towards a hydro-turbine generator.

6.  Water Flow

The volume of water that flows through a hydro-turbine generator is crucial for measuring potential output. High water flow volume systems require larger turbines to reconcile for the large amount of water.  Low water flow systems  will often times have a high head height and a small turbine.

7.  Head Height

This is the height that the water falls before reaching the hydro-turbine generator.  The higher the height, the greater the force of the falling water.

8.  History of Hydroelectric Power

Water was the first renewable energy resource to be exploited by man.

9.  Hydroelectricity Today

Hydroelectric power is the leading source of renewable electric energy in the United States.

10.  The Future of Hydroelectricity

Hydro power technology is evolving from the large dam and reservoir systems towards smaller micro-hydro turbine generators that can be used for individual homes.

11.  Environmental Impact

Hydro power systems release no pollutants during operation, but large hydroelectric dams are very harmful to the environment and surrounding ecosystems during construction.

12.  Advantages of Hydro-Power

Water is more dense than wind, which makes a hydro-turbine more efficient.

13.  Micro-Hydro Power

A small hydro-turbine that uses a high head and a low volume of water, usually for individual homes.