4. Practices in Electricity Generation from Hydropower
Hydropower electricity is the product of transforming potential energy stored in water in an elevated reservoir into the kinetic energy of the running water, then mechanical energy in a rotating turbine, and finally electrical energy in an alternator or generator. Hydropower is a mature renewable power generation technology that offers two desirable characteristics in modern electricity systems: first, built-in storage that enables electricity to be provided on demand and second, a fast response time that allows reserves to be fed into the grid. Hydropower also has an important role to play in producing renewable electricity. It is low-cost and readily available: power flow …show more content…
The higher the head, the more gravitational energy the water has as it passes through the turbine. Most existing hydropower facilities can convert about 90 percent of the energy of falling water into electricity, which makes hydropower a technically efficient source of …show more content…
The installed low power hydropower capacity in the U.S. is approximately 350 megawatts.
Micro Hydropower Plants: These facilities have a generation capacity of less than 100 kilowatts.
Electricity demand fluctuates during the day and between months depending on different factors, most importantly the hour of the day and temperature. One of the advantages of hydropower over other sources of electricity (e.g., variable wind and solar power or base load coal and nuclear plants) is its generation flexibility. Such flexibility enables hydropower to meet sudden fluctuations in demand or help to compensate for the loss of power from other sources. Hydropower can be used for both base load and peak generation.
4.2. Current Status
Hydropower is the most widely used form of renewable electricity, with 3700TWh generated worldwide in 2012, which accounted 79% of all the electricity produced from renewable sources globally . In 2012, hydropower provided an estimated 16.5% of the world’s electricity. This share is expected to rise to 19% in 2020 and 21% in 2030