Hydroelectricity refers to the electricity derived from the energy of moving water. It is a renewable source of energy. Hydroelectricity is produced when moving water rotates a turbine. With the aid of an electrical generator, this movement is transformed into electricity. The power plant where Hydroelectricity is produced is known as a hydroelectric power plant or hydropower plant. In order to produce hydroelectricity dams are constructed on rivers.
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Hydropower Plants Various Forms
Hydropower facilities come in three different varieties: impoundments, diversion, and pumped storage. Hydropower plants vary in their utilisation of dams.
Impoundment Hydropower Plant
A facility that uses impoundments is the most prevalent type of hydroelectric power plant. A dam is used in an impoundment facility, which is usually a big hydroelectric system, to hold river water in a reservoir. Released water from the reservoir spins a turbine as it passes through, starting a generator that generates power.
Diversion Hydropower Plant
A diversion, also known as a run-of-river facility, directs a river’s flow down a canal or penstock and into a turbine, turning the turbine to turn on a generator that generates energy. It might not be necessary to use a dam.
Pumped Storage Hydropower Plant
This method, which functions like a battery, stores the electricity produced by alternative energy sources including solar, wind, and nuclear power for later use. A pumped storage plant stores energy by moving water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir during times of low electricity demand. When there is a significant demand for energy, the water is discharged back into the lower reservoir where it acts as a turbine and produces electricity.
Hydroelectricity in India
Over 53% of India’s electricity was generated using hydropower in 1947, which accounted for about 37% of the country’s overall power-generating capability. The fall in hydropower’s share of capacity and generation began in the late 1960s as coal-based power generation increased. 46,512 MW (megawatts) of hydropower capacity, or around 11.7 per cent of total capacity, was available in 2022. In 2020–21, hydropower generated around 12% of all electricity. There are 197 Hydropower plants in India.
Hydropower Sites Global Distribution
The United States of America and Canada are the world’s top hydroelectric power producers.
|North America||The Appalachian Fall line, the Great Lake Falls-St. Lawrence canal, Niagara Falls and St. Anthony in Minneapolis, the Rocky Mountains, and the Laurentian shield are all notable natural hydel power sites.|
|Europe||Italy, France, Norway, Sweden, Germany, and Switzerland produce the majority of Europe’s hydroelectric electricity.|
|Asia||Japan, India, Shanghai and Guangzhou in China, and Cameron Highlands in Malaysia.|
|South America||Brazil is the top generator. Paulo-Alfonso facility, located on the San Francisco River is an important hydropower plant.|
|Africa||Aswan Dam in Egypt, Akosombo Dam in Ghana, and Sennar Dam in Sudan.|
- Hydroelectricity uses water to generate electricity rather than consuming it, hydropower is a renewable source of energy that frees up this essential resource for other purposes.
- Since there are no consumables required and it is a renewable source of energy, there aren’t many ongoing expenses to worry about.
- Compared to electricity produced by coal and gas-fired power plants, it is less expensive. Because it doesn’t require fossil fuels, it is also more dependable and doesn’t generate financial losses from frequency changes.
- Due to its special ability for swift starting and closure, hydropower stations are the favoured solution for addressing peak loads in grids.
- The operational requirements of hydroelectric and thermal power plants are complementary, and a well-balanced blend promotes the best use of available resources.
- The seasonal load curves of regional grids and the pattern of hydropower generation are identical. A heavy agricultural workload causes hydroelectric power plants to produce more electricity during the summer and monsoon seasons when the system has a high load factor.
- Thermal stations operating at base load and hydro stations operating at peak load during the winter will handle weather-beating loads.
- Due to possible opposition from the tribal people, the hydroelectric power potential from the Godavari, Mahanadi, Nagavali, Vamsadhara, and Narmada river basins has not been extensively explored in central India.
- However, hydropower’s contribution to the creation of electricity has been declining over time, making up only around 10% of total production, with the majority (80%) coming from thermal generation.
- Due to lengthy land acquisition and resettlement processes, difficult planning procedures, a lack of enabling infrastructure, such as transmission, an inadequate market size, and long-term finance, many contemporary hydropower projects have experienced delays.
- India has a large number of dormant hydropower projects (HEPs) as a result of environmental litigation, local unrest, financial strain, and uninterested purchasers.
- Only an additional 10,000 MW of hydropower could have been added over the previous ten years. Due to the fact that water and water power are State-related issues, conflicts between riparian States regularly cause the construction of HEPs to be delayed; the Subansiri HEP is an excellent example of this.
There are 197 Hydropower plants in India. India started to gain power at the end of the 19th century. The Sidrapong Hydropower facility, a hydroelectricity project, was inaugurated in Darjeeling in 1897. And in 1902, a hydroelectric power plant in Karnataka’s Sivasamudram was put into operation. For the UPSC exams, hydroelectricity is an important topic that can be found in General Studies.