4.8 How Do Hydropower Plants Work?
Hydropower is the combination of head and flow. The Head is water pressure created by the difference in elevation between the water intake and turbine, expressed as a distance (feet or meters) or as pressure (pounds per square inch). Similarly, flow is the quantity of water, expressed as volume per second or minute (gallons per minute, cubic feet per second). In a typical hydropower system, water is diverted from a stream into a pipeline, where it is carried downhill and through the turbine (flow). The vertical drop (head) creates pressure at the bottom end of the pipeline. Then, the pressurized water at the end of the pipe generates the force that drives the turbine. Therefore, more flow, or more head means more power is produced (Canyon Industries, Inc.). Appendix 3 shows several components of a typical hydropower plant.
Hydropower plants harness water’s energy and use simple mechanics to convert that energy into electricity. The components of a conventional hydropower plant are discussed below (Bonsor 2001):
• Dam: Dam is used to in hydropower plants to hold back water which creates a large reservoir (Bonsor 2001).
• Intake: Gates on the dam open and gravity pulls the water through a pipeline (penstock) that …show more content…
water in case of a hydropower project, should also be added in order to obtain the total cost. As natural resource has both economic and intrinsic value to users and society, it has its own demand price. In practice, government policies and acts generally fix the natural resource use cost, which is also known as royalty. In case of hydropower projects, the developer uses natural resources like water, river-belt, or site-specific facilities to generate hydroelectricity. Therefore, users need to pay some fee to the government for the use of such natural resources, which is one of the non-tax revenue sources for the government (Gautam, Karki