|Part of a series on|
Hydroelectricity, or hydroelectric power, is electricity produced from hydropower. In 2015, hydropower generated 16.6% of the world's total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity,and was expected to increase by about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years.
Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 33 percent of global hydropower in 2013. China is the largest hydroelectricity producer, with 920 TWh of production in 2013, representing 16.9% of domestic electricity use.
The cost of hydroelectricity is relatively low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity. The hydro station consumes no water, unlike coal or gas plants. The typical cost of electricity from a hydro station larger than 10 megawatts is 3 to 5 US cents per kilowatt hour.With a dam and reservoir it is also a flexible source of electricity, since the amount produced by the station can be varied up or down very rapidly (as little as a few seconds) to adapt to changing energy demands. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and it generally has a considerably lower output level of greenhouse gases than photovoltaic power plants and certainly fossil fuel powered energy plants (see also Life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions of energy sources). However, when constructed in lowland rainforest areas, where inundation of a part of the forest is necessary, they can emit substantial amounts of greenhouse gases.
The construction of a hydroelectric complex can cause significant environmental impact, principally in loss of arable land and population displacement. They also disrupt the natural ecology of the river involved, affecting habitats and ecosystems, and the siltation and erosion patterns. While dams can ameliorate the risks of flooding, they also contain a risk of dam failure, which can be catastrophic.
Hydropower has been used since ancient times to grind flour and perform other tasks. In the late 18th century hydraulic power provided the energy source needed for the start of the Industrial Revolution. In the mid-1770s, French engineer Bernard Forest de Bélidor published Architecture Hydraulique, which described vertical- and horizontal-axis hydraulic machines, and in 1771 Richard Arkwright’s combination of water power, the water frame, and continuous production played a significant part in the development of the factory system, with modern employment practices.In the 1840s the hydraulic power network was developed to generate and transmit hydro power to end users. By the late 19th century, the electrical generator was developed and could now be coupled with hydraulics. The growing demand arising from the Industrial Revolution would drive development as well. In 1878, the world's first hydroelectric power scheme was developed at Cragside in Northumberland, England by William Armstrong. It was used to power a single arc lamp in his art gallery. The old Schoelkopf Power Station No. 1, US, near Niagara Falls, began to produce electricity in 1881. The first Edison hydroelectric power station, the Vulcan Street Plant, began operating September 30, 1882, in Appleton, Wisconsin, with an output of about 12.5 kilowatts. By 1886 there were 45 hydroelectric power stations in the United States and Canada; and by 1889 there were 200 in the United States alone.
At the beginning of the 20th century, many small hydroelectric power stations were being constructed by commercial companies in mountains near metropolitan areas. Grenoble, France held the International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism, with over one million visitors. By 1920, when 40% of the power produced in the United States was hydroelectric, the Federal Power Act was enacted into law. The Act created the Federal Power Commission to regulate hydroelectric power stations on federal land and water. As the power stations became larger, their associated dams developed additional purposes, including flood control, irrigation and navigation. Federal funding became necessary for large-scale development, and federally owned corporations, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority (1933) and the Bonneville Power Administration (1937) were created.Additionally, the Bureau of Reclamation which had begun a series of western US irrigation projects in the early 20th century, was now constructing large hydroelectric projects such as the 1928 Hoover Dam. The United States Army Corps of Engineers was also involved in hydroelectric development, completing the Bonneville Dam in 1937 and being recognized by the Flood Control Act of 1936 as the premier federal flood control agency.
Hydroelectric power stations continued to become larger throughout the 20th century. Hydropower was referred to as white coal. 1,345 MW power station was the world's largest hydroelectric power station in 1936; it was eclipsed by the 6,809 MW Grand Coulee Dam in 1942. The Itaipu Dam opened in 1984 in South America as the largest, producing 14 GW, but was surpassed in 2008 by the Three Gorges Dam in China at 22.5 GW. Hydroelectricity would eventually supply some countries, including Norway, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Paraguay and Brazil, with over 85% of their electricity. The United States currently has over 2,000 hydroelectric power stations that supply 6.4% of its total electrical production output, which is 49% of its renewable electricity.Hoover Dam's initial
The technical potential for hydropower development around the world is much greater than the actual production: the percent of potential hydropower capacity that has not been developed is 71% in Europe, 75% in North America, 79% in South America, 95% in Africa, 95% in the Middle East, and 82% in Asia-Pacific.Due to the political realities of new reservoirs in western countries, economic limitations in the third world and the lack of a transmission system in undeveloped areas, perhaps 25% of the remaining technically exploitable potential can be developed before 2050, with the bulk of that being in the Asia-Pacific area. Some countries have highly developed their hydropower potential and have very little room for growth: Switzerland produces 88% of its potential and Mexico 80%.
Most hydroelectric power comes from the potential energy of dammed water driving a water turbine and generator. The power extracted from the water depends on the volume and on the difference in height between the source and the water's outflow. This height difference is called the head. A large pipe (the "penstock") delivers water from the reservoir to the turbine.
This method produces electricity to supply high peak demands by moving water between reservoirs at different elevations. At times of low electrical demand, the excess generation capacity is used to pump water into the higher reservoir. When the demand becomes greater, water is released back into the lower reservoir through a turbine. Pumped-storage schemes currently provide the most commercially important means of large-scale grid energy storage and improve the daily capacity factor of the generation system. Pumped storage is not an energy source, and appears as a negative number in listings.
Run-of-the-river hydroelectric stations are those with small or no reservoir capacity, so that only the water coming from upstream is available for generation at that moment, and any oversupply must pass unused. A constant supply of water from a lake or existing reservoir upstream is a significant advantage in choosing sites for run-of-the-river. In the United States, run of the river hydropower could potentially provide 60,000 megawatts (80,000,000 hp) (about 13.7% of total use in 2011 if continuously available).
A tidal power station makes use of the daily rise and fall of ocean water due to tides; such sources are highly predictable, and if conditions permit construction of reservoirs, can also be dispatchable to generate power during high demand periods. Less common types of hydro schemes use water's kinetic energy or undammed sources such as undershot water wheels. Tidal power is viable in a relatively small number of locations around the world. In Great Britain, there are eight sites that could be developed, which have the potential to generate 20% of the electricity used in 2012.
Large-scale hydroelectric power stations are more commonly seen as the largest power producing facilities in the world, with some hydroelectric facilities capable of generating more than double the installed capacities of the current largest nuclear power stations.
Although no official definition exists for the capacity range of large hydroelectric power stations, facilities from over a few hundred megawatts are generally considered large hydroelectric facilities.
Currently, only four facilities over 10 GW (10,000 MW ) are in operation worldwide, see table below.
|1.||Three Gorges Dam||China||22,500|
|2.||Itaipu Dam|| Brazil |
Small hydro is the development of hydroelectric power on a scale serving a small community or industrial plant. The definition of a small hydro project varies but a generating capacity of up to 10 megawatts (MW) is generally accepted as the upper limit of what can be termed small hydro. This may be stretched to 25 MW and 30 MW in Canada and the United States. Small-scale hydroelectricity production grew by 29% from 2005 to 2008, raising the total world small-hydro capacity to 85 GW . Over 70% of this was in China (65 GW), followed by Japan (3.5 GW), the United States (3 GW), and India (2 GW).
Small hydro stations may be connected to conventional electrical distribution networks as a source of low-cost renewable energy. Alternatively, small hydro projects may be built in isolated areas that would be uneconomic to serve from a network, or in areas where there is no national electrical distribution network. Since small hydro projects usually have minimal reservoirs and civil construction work, they are seen as having a relatively low environmental impact compared to large hydro. This decreased environmental impact depends strongly on the balance between stream flow and power production.
Micro hydro is a term used for hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power. These installations can provide power to an isolated home or small community, or are sometimes connected to electric power networks. There are many of these installations around the world, particularly in developing nations as they can provide an economical source of energy without purchase of fuel. Micro hydro systems complement photovoltaic solar energy systems because in many areas, water flow, and thus available hydro power, is highest in the winter when solar energy is at a minimum.
Pico hydro is a term used for hydroelectric power generation of under 5 kW . It is useful in small, remote communities that require only a small amount of electricity. For example, the 1.1 kW ITDG Pico Hydro Project in Kenya supplies 57 homes with very small electric loads (e.g., a couple of lights and a phone changer, or a small TV/radio). Even smaller turbines of 200-300 W may power a few homes in a developing country with a drop of only 1 m (3 ft). A Pico-hydro setup is typically run-of-the-river, meaning that dams are not used, but rather pipes divert some of the flow, drop this down a gradient, and through the turbine before returning it to the stream.
An underground power station is generally used at large facilities and makes use of a large natural height difference between two waterways, such as a waterfall or mountain lake. A tunnel is constructed to take water from the high reservoir to the generating hall built in a cavern near the lowest point of the water tunnel and a horizontal tailrace taking water away to the lower outlet waterway.
A simple formula for approximating electric power production at a hydroelectric station is:
Efficiency is often higher (that is, closer to 1) with larger and more modern turbines. Annual electric energy production depends on the available water supply. In some installations, the water flow rate can vary by a factor of 10:1 over the course of a year.
Hydropower is a flexible source of electricity since stations can be ramped up and down very quickly to adapt to changing energy demands.Hydro turbines have a start-up time of the order of a few minutes. It takes around 60 to 90 seconds to bring a unit from cold start-up to full load; this is much shorter than for gas turbines or steam plants. Power generation can also be decreased quickly when there is a surplus power generation. Hence the limited capacity of hydropower units is not generally used to produce base power except for vacating the flood pool or meeting downstream needs. Instead, it can serve as backup for non-hydro generators.
The major advantage of conventional hydroelectric dams with reservoirs is their ability to store water at low cost for dispatch later as high value clean electricity. The average cost of electricity from a hydro station larger than 10 megawatts is 3 to 5 US cents per kilowatt-hour.When used as peak power to meet demand, hydroelectricity has a higher value than base power and a much higher value compared to intermittent energy sources.
Hydroelectric stations have long economic lives, with some plants still in service after 50–100 years.Operating labor cost is also usually low, as plants are automated and have few personnel on site during normal operation.
Where a dam serves multiple purposes, a hydroelectric station may be added with relatively low construction cost, providing a useful revenue stream to offset the costs of dam operation. It has been calculated that the sale of electricity from the Three Gorges Dam will cover the construction costs after 5 to 8 years of full generation.However, some data shows that in most countries large hydropower dams will be too costly and take too long to build to deliver a positive risk adjusted return, unless appropriate risk management measures are put in place.
While many hydroelectric projects supply public electricity networks, some are created to serve specific industrial enterprises. Dedicated hydroelectric projects are often built to provide the substantial amounts of electricity needed for aluminium electrolytic plants, for example. The Grand Coulee Dam switched to support Alcoa aluminium in Bellingham, Washington, United States for American World War II airplanes before it was allowed to provide irrigation and power to citizens (in addition to aluminium power) after the war. In Suriname, the Brokopondo Reservoir was constructed to provide electricity for the Alcoa aluminium industry. New Zealand's Manapouri Power Station was constructed to supply electricity to the aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point.
Since hydroelectric dams do not use fuel, power generation does not produce carbon dioxide. While carbon dioxide is initially produced during construction of the project, and some methane is given off annually by reservoirs, hydro has one of the lowest lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions for electricity generation.Compared to fossil fuels generating an equivalent amount of electricity, hydro displaced three billion tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2011. According to a comparative study by the Paul Scherrer Institute and the University of Stuttgart, hydroelectricity in Europe produces the least amount of greenhouse gases and externality of any energy source. Coming in second place was wind, third was nuclear energy, and fourth was solar photovoltaic. The low greenhouse gas impact of hydroelectricity is found especially in temperate climates. Greater greenhouse gas emission impacts are found in the tropical regions because the reservoirs of power stations in tropical regions produce a larger amount of methane than those in temperate areas.
Like other non-fossil fuel sources, hydropower also has no emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or other particulates.
Reservoirs created by hydroelectric schemes often provide facilities for water sports, and become tourist attractions themselves. In some countries, aquaculture in reservoirs is common. Multi-use dams installed for irrigation support agriculture with a relatively constant water supply. Large hydro dams can control floods, which would otherwise affect people living downstream of the project.
Large reservoirs associated with traditional hydroelectric power stations result in submersion of extensive areas upstream of the dams, sometimes destroying biologically rich and productive lowland and riverine valley forests, marshland and grasslands. Damming interrupts the flow of rivers and can harm local ecosystems, and building large dams and reservoirs often involves displacing people and wildlife.The loss of land is often exacerbated by habitat fragmentation of surrounding areas caused by the reservoir.
Hydroelectric projects can be disruptive to surrounding aquatic ecosystems both upstream and downstream of the plant site. Generation of hydroelectric power changes the downstream river environment. Water exiting a turbine usually contains very little suspended sediment, which can lead to scouring of river beds and loss of riverbanks.Since turbine gates are often opened intermittently, rapid or even daily fluctuations in river flow are observed.
A 2011 study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that hydroelectric plants in the United States consumed between 5.39 to 68.14 cubic metres per megawatt-hour (1,425 to 18,000 US gallons per megawatt-hour) of electricity generated, through evaporation losses in the reservoir. The median loss was 17.00 m3/MWh (4,491 US gal/MWh), which is higher than the loss for generation technologies that use cooling towers, including concentrating solar power at 3.27 m3/MWh (865 US gal/MWh) for CSP trough and 2.98 m3/MWh (786 US gal/MWh) for CSP tower, coal at 2.60 m3/MWh (687 US gal/MWh), nuclear at 2.54 m3/MWh (672 US gal/MWh), and natural gas at 0.75 m3/MWh (198 US gal/MWh). Where there are multiple uses of reservoirs such as water supply, recreation, and flood control, all reservoir evaporation is attributed to power production.
When water flows it has the ability to transport particles heavier than itself downstream. This has a negative effect on dams and subsequently their power stations, particularly those on rivers or within catchment areas with high siltation. Siltation can fill a reservoir and reduce its capacity to control floods along with causing additional horizontal pressure on the upstream portion of the dam. Eventually, some reservoirs can become full of sediment and useless or over-top during a flood and fail.
Changes in the amount of river flow will correlate with the amount of energy produced by a dam. Lower river flows will reduce the amount of live storage in a reservoir therefore reducing the amount of water that can be used for hydroelectricity. The result of diminished river flow can be power shortages in areas that depend heavily on hydroelectric power. The risk of flow shortage may increase as a result of climate change.One study from the Colorado River in the United States suggest that modest climate changes, such as an increase in temperature in 2 degree Celsius resulting in a 10% decline in precipitation, might reduce river run-off by up to 40%. Brazil in particular is vulnerable due to its heavy reliance on hydroelectricity, as increasing temperatures, lower water flow and alterations in the rainfall regime, could reduce total energy production by 7% annually by the end of the century.
Lower positive impacts are found in the tropical regions. In lowland rainforest areas, where inundation of a part of the forest is necessary, it has been noted that the reservoirs of power plants produce substantial amounts of methane.This is due to plant material in flooded areas decaying in an anaerobic environment and forming methane, a greenhouse gas. According to the World Commission on Dams report, where the reservoir is large compared to the generating capacity (less than 100 watts per square metre of surface area) and no clearing of the forests in the area was undertaken prior to impoundment of the reservoir, greenhouse gas emissions from the reservoir may be higher than those of a conventional oil-fired thermal generation plant.
In boreal reservoirs of Canada and Northern Europe, however, greenhouse gas emissions are typically only 2% to 8% of any kind of conventional fossil-fuel thermal generation. A new class of underwater logging operation that targets drowned forests can mitigate the effect of forest decay.
Another disadvantage of hydroelectric dams is the need to relocate the people living where the reservoirs are planned. In 2000, the World Commission on Dams estimated that dams had physically displaced 40-80 million people worldwide.
Because large conventional dammed-hydro facilities hold back large volumes of water, a failure due to poor construction, natural disasters or sabotage can be catastrophic to downriver settlements and infrastructure.
During Typhoon Nina in 1975 Banqiao Dam in Southern China failed when more than a year's worth of rain fell within 24 hours (see 1975 Banqiao Dam failure). The resulting flood resulted in the deaths of 26,000 people, and another 145,000 from epidemics. Millions were left homeless.
The creation of a dam in a geologically inappropriate location may cause disasters such as 1963 disaster at Vajont Dam in Italy, where almost 2,000 people died.
The Malpasset Dam failure in Fréjus on the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur), southern France, collapsed on December 2, 1959, killing 423 people in the resulting flood.
Smaller dams and micro hydro facilities create less risk, but can form continuing hazards even after being decommissioned. For example, the small earthen embankment Kelly Barnes Dam failed in 1977, twenty years after its power station was decommissioned, causing 39 deaths.
Hydroelectricity eliminates the flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, including pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, dust, and mercury in the coal. Hydroelectricity also avoids the hazards of coal mining and the indirect health effects of coal emissions.
Compared to nuclear power, hydroelectricity construction requires altering large areas of the environment while a nuclear power station has a small footprint, and hydro-powerstation failures have caused tens of thousands of more deaths than any nuclear station failure. 2,120 kilometres (1,320 mi), and caused the inhabitants to sell 94% of their arable land for $7.5 million in 1949.The creation of Garrison Dam, for example, required Native American land to create Lake Sakakawea, which has a shoreline of
However, nuclear power is relatively inflexible; although nuclear power can reduce its output reasonably quickly. Since the cost of nuclear power is dominated by its high infrastructure costs, the cost per unit energy goes up significantly with low production. Because of this, nuclear power is mostly used for baseload. By way of contrast, hydroelectricity can supply peak power at much lower cost. Hydroelectricity is thus often used to complement nuclear or other sources for load following. Country examples where they are paired in a close to 50/50 share include the electric grid in Switzerland, the Electricity sector in Sweden and to a lesser extent, Ukraine and the Electricity sector in Finland.
Wind power goes through predictable variation by season, but is intermittent on a daily basis. Maximum wind generation has little relationship to peak daily electricity consumption, the wind may peak at night when power isn't needed or be still during the day when electrical demand is highest. Occasionally weather patterns can result in low wind for days or weeks at a time, a hydroelectric reservoir capable of storing weeks of output is useful to balance generation on the grid. Peak wind power can be offset by minimum hydropower and minimum wind can be offset with maximum hydropower. In this way the easily regulated character of hydroelectricity is used to compensate for the intermittent nature of wind power. Conversely, in some cases wind power can be used to spare water for later use in dry seasons.
In areas that do not have hydropower, pumped storage serves a similar role, but at a much higher cost and 20% lower efficiency. An example of this is Norway's trading with Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and possibly Germany or the UK in the future.Norway is 98% hydropower, while its flatland neighbors are installing wind power.
The ranking of hydroelectric capacity is either by actual annual energy production or by installed capacity power rating. In 2015 hydropower generated 16.6% of the worlds total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity.Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generated 32 percent of global hydropower in 2010. China is the largest hydroelectricity producer, with 721 terawatt-hours of production in 2010, representing around 17 percent of domestic electricity use. Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Austria, Switzerland, Venezuela, and several other countries have a majority of the internal electric energy production from hydroelectric power. Paraguay produces 100% of its electricity from hydroelectric dams and exports 90% of its production to Brazil and to Argentina. Norway produces 96% of its electricity from hydroelectric sources.
A hydroelectric station rarely operates at its full power rating over a full year; the ratio between annual average power and installed capacity rating is the capacity factor. The installed capacity is the sum of all generator nameplate power ratings.
|% of world's |
|% in domestic |
|#||Country or territory||2020|
|3||United States||103 058|
|30||South Korea||6 506|
|35||New Zealand||5 389|
Hydropower, also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water to produce electricity or to power machines. This is achieved by converting the gravitational potential or kinetic energy of a water source to produce power. Hydropower is a method of sustainable energy production.
A power station, also referred to as a power plant and sometimes generating station or generating plant, is an industrial facility for the generation of electric power. Power stations are generally connected to an electrical grid.
Small hydro is the development of hydroelectric power on a scale suitable for local community and industry, or to contribute to distributed generation in a regional electricity grid. Precise definitions vary, but a "small hydro" project is less than 50 megawatts (MW), and can be further subdivide by scale into "mini" (<1MW), "micro" (<100 kW), "pico" (<10 kW). In contrast many hydroelectric projects are of enormous size, such as the generating plant at the Three Gorges Dam at 22,500 megawatts or the vast multiple projects of the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Pumped-storage hydroelectricity (PSH), or pumped hydroelectric energy storage (PHES), is a type of hydroelectric energy storage used by electric power systems for load balancing. The method stores energy in the form of gravitational potential energy of water, pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation. Low-cost surplus off-peak electric power is typically used to run the pumps. During periods of high electrical demand, the stored water is released through turbines to produce electric power. Although the losses of the pumping process make the plant a net consumer of energy overall, the system increases revenue by selling more electricity during periods of peak demand, when electricity prices are highest. If the upper lake collects significant rainfall or is fed by a river then the plant may be a net energy producer in the manner of a traditional hydroelectric plant.
Electric power systems consist of generation plants of different energy sources, transmission networks, and distribution lines. Each of these components can have environmental impacts at multiple stages of their development and use including in their construction, during the generation of electricity, and in their decommissioning and disposal. We can split these impacts into operational impacts and construction impacts. This page looks exclusively at the operational environmental impact of electricity generation. The page is organized by energy source and includes impacts such as water usage, emissions, local pollution, and wildlife displacement.
Grid energy storage is a collection of methods used for energy storage on a large scale within an electrical power grid. Electrical energy is stored during times when electricity is plentiful and inexpensive or when demand is low, and later returned to the grid when demand is high, and electricity prices tend to be higher.
Peaking power plants, also known as peaker plants, and occasionally just "peakers", are power plants that generally run only when there is a high demand, known as peak demand, for electricity. Because they supply power only occasionally, the power supplied commands a much higher price per kilowatt hour than base load power. Peak load power plants are dispatched in combination with base load power plants, which supply a dependable and consistent amount of electricity, to meet the minimum demand.
Micro hydro is a type of hydroelectric power that typically produces from 5 kW to 100 kW of electricity using the natural flow of water. Installations below 5 kW are called pico hydro. These installations can provide power to an isolated home or small community, or are sometimes connected to electric power networks, particularly where net metering is offered. There are many of these installations around the world, particularly in developing nations as they can provide an economical source of energy without the purchase of fuel. Micro hydro systems complement solar PV power systems because in many areas water flow, and thus available hydro power, is highest in the winter when solar energy is at a minimum. Micro hydro is frequently accomplished with a pelton wheel for high head, low flow water supply. The installation is often just a small dammed pool, at the top of a waterfall, with several hundred feet of pipe leading to a small generator housing. In low head sites, generally water wheels and Archimedes screws are used.
A reservoir is most commonly an enlarged natural or artificial lake created using a dam to store fresh water.
Run-of-river hydroelectricity (ROR) or run-of-the-river hydroelectricity is a type of hydroelectric generation plant whereby little or no water storage is provided. Run-of-the-river power plants may have no water storage at all or a limited amount of storage, in which case the storage reservoir is referred to as pondage. A plant without pondage is subject to seasonal river flows, thus the plant will operate as an intermittent energy source. Conventional hydro uses reservoirs, which regulate water for flood control, dispatchable electrical power, and the provision of fresh water for agriculture.
Bicaz-Stejaru Hydro Power Plant is a hydropower development on the Bistrița River, near Bicaz, Romania.
According to the International Hydropower Association, Canada is the world's fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world in 2020 after the United States, Brazil, and China. In 2014, Canada consumed the equivalent of 85.7 megatonnes worth of oil of hydroelectricity, 9.8% of worldwide hydroelectric consumption. Furthermore, hydroelectricity accounted for 25.7% of Canada's total energy consumption. It is the third-most consumed energy in Canada behind oil and natural gas.
Low-head hydropower refers to the development of hydroelectric power where the head is typically less than 20 metres, although precise definitions vary. Head is the vertical height measured between the hydro intake water level and the water level at the point of discharge. Using only a low head drop in a river or tidal flows to create electricity may provide a renewable energy source that will have a minimal impact on the environment. Since the generated power is a function of the head these systems are typically classed as small-scale hydropower, which have an installed capacity of less than 5MW.
Hydroelectric power in the United States is, as of 2019, the second-largest renewable source of energy in both generation and nominal capacity. In 2019, hydroelectric power produced 38% of the total renewable electricity, and 6.6% of the total U.S. electricity.
Policy makers often debate the constraints and opportunities of renewable energy.
Ohio Falls Station is a hydroelectric power station owned by Louisville Gas & Electric (LG&E) and Kentucky Utilities (KU) which is located three miles west of Downtown Louisville, Kentucky. The generating station is located on Shippingport Island at the site of the McAlpine Dam and locks along the Ohio River in Kentucky. The plant was built in 1923 by Byllesby Engineering and Management Corporation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The plant featured eight 10.4 MW units operating at roughly 13,500 hp per unit. Each unit was composed of Allis Chamber turbines and General Electric generators. The plant is located inside the Ohio Natural Wildlife Conservation Area and is considered a large impoundment hydro power plant. The station was built after a canal and dam within the Ohio river in an attempt to allow boats to navigate the 8 ft vertical drop among the falls that spanned 2 miles wide. Production of the canal and dam began in 1825. It was not until a repair on the dam was needed that Louisville engineers had the idea of building a hydroelectric station to harvest the power of the falls.
Variable renewable energy (VRE) or intermittent renewable energy sources (IRES) are renewable energy sources that are not dispatchable due to their fluctuating nature, such as wind power and solar power, as opposed to controllable renewable energy sources, such as dammed hydroelectricity or biomass, or relatively constant sources, such as geothermal power.
Thailand has set targets and policies for the development of its energy sector for 2035, with priority being given to indigenous renewable energy resources, including hydropower.
Hydroelectricity is currently China's largest renewable energy source and the second overall after coal. China's installed hydroelectric capacity in 2015 was 356 GW, up from 172 GW in 2009, including 23 GW of pumped storage hydroelectricity capacity. According to the International Hydropower Association China is the worlds largest producer of hydroelectricity in 2020. In 2018, hydropower generated 1,232 TWh of power, accounting for roughly 18% of China's total electricity generation.
Renewable energy in South Africa is energy generated in South Africa from renewable resources, those that naturally replenish themselves—such as sunlight, wind, tides, waves, rain, biomass, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy focuses on four core areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural energy services. The energy sector in South Africa is an important component of global energy regimes due to the country's innovation and advances in renewable energy. South Africa's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is ranked as moderate and its per capita emission rate is higher than the global average. Energy demand within the country is expected to rise steadily and double by 2025.
|volume=has extra text (help)
98-99% of Norway’s electricity comes from hydroelectric plants.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hydroelectricity .|