Better understand hydroelectricity
Main principles of hydroelectricity
Long ago, humans learned how to use the force of water to create mechanical energy, and then electrical energy: a sustainable and renewable energy source combining human skill and the forces of nature. By integrating into the natural water cycle, a hydroelectric facility transforms the gravitational (potential) energy of lakes, streams and tides into electricity. A facility is generally composed of a retaining structure (capable of storing water if necessary) that directs water to a production plant where the water sets a turbine in motion. The turbine is connected to an alternator which then transforms the kinetic energy of the rotation into electrical energy that is transferred to the electricity grid. The electrical power is proportional to the drop height and the flow of the turbine. It doesn’t consume water and every drop is returned to the river further downstream.
Hydropower station models
Hyvity is a hydroelectricity expert and independent player who identifies, finances, develops, builds and operates, independently or in partnership, locally adapted hydroelectric facilities in France and around the world. We are committed to a long-term, inclusive and respectful approach toward all stakeholders in order to co-build a portfolio of eco-responsible and sustainable hydroelectric stations that are at one with regions.
Diversion hydropower stations do not have storage capabilities and generate electricity according to the watercourse flow rates. This kind of facility therefore generates electricity continuously. Predictable but not controllable, they provide baseload electricity.
Impoundment hydropower stations have a water reservoir allowing water to be stored and released into the turbines at times of higher demand. Impoundment stations have fairly short accumulation times and adjust their production daily or even weekly. Impoundment stations with a dam can ensure seasonal modulation of their production.
Pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH)
PSH stations are pumping stations that run turbines with additional water impoundment downstream. These stations are efficient batteries that can be up and running in a few minutes and are used to balance the electricity grid. They are essential to grid security and also allow the deployment of other (intermittent) renewable energies.
Find out more
Small hydropower, regional renewable energy (FHE): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSQd2HhRps4
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