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HYDROELECTRICITY

V. Ryan © 2005 - 2009

 

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Hydro power is an alternative way of producing electricity from the power produced by water under pressure. A typical setup requires the construction of a dam. This would be situated at the head of a valley. Behind the dam, water is allowed to build up forming a large, deep lake. The deeper and larger the lake, the greater the potential of producing large amounts of electricity. A typical dam may take years to construct and cost millions of Dollars / Euros and consequently a dam must stay producing electricity for many years (perhaps even decades) - in order to produce electricity profitably.
The Hoover Dam in the USA was opened in 1936 and is an excellent example of this type of dam.

ARIEL VIEW OF THE HOOVER DAM
 
 
VIEW FROM THE DAM WALL DOWN TO THE POWER STATION AT THE BASE
 
 

 

 
The lake behind the dam contains millions of gallons of water and it is the pressure/weight from the ‘head’ of water that is used to drive turbines producing electricity. The water is release through sluice gates well below the water line. The weight of the water above forces water through the sluice gates at high speed. This speed drives the turbines round producing large amounts of electricity. The diagram below shows how electricity is produced.
   
 
 
 
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