Hydro-Power: What You May Or May Not Know And Should Know

By   November 30, 2016

While we know not use electricity while standing in water, i.e. drying your hair while standing in the bathtub, hydro-power is the method of using moving water to generate electricity. But hydro-power contradicts that in every way possible. For thousands of years, water has been used or energy. Such as when water wheels were used for grinding corn and wheat using tidal water and river water to power the millstones and sawmills.

In time, engineers were inspired to come up with an invention that would create more energy from water, thus creating hydro-power. Thus, water turbines came into play with the theory of building a dam on a river with a high elevation and the water would be stored in a reservoir behind it. Near the bottom of the dam, a water intake is there that leads to a penstock and conveys the water.

Gravity then causes the water to go down to the penstock and goes through the turbine’s propeller. The moving water turns the turbine which produces mechanical energy, working in the same as the water wheel worked. Here, it is kinetic energy that’s used as mechanical energy and energizes a generator before being converted into electricity and sends on via power lines. Hydro-power then created enough electricity to power cities, communities, factories, and more.

Things You May Not Know About Hydro-Power

Hydropower was used by ancient Greece farmers and today it is one of our renewable energy sources. It doesn’t produces air pollution or create any toxic byproducts. Hoover Dam is a well-known source of hydro-power. It is a huge facility that stores power behind its walls. There are also many smaller hydro-power facilities too, some of which are “dam-less” and use the diversions rivers that channel some of a stream by way of a powerhouse then rejoins the main river.

One of the country’s first hydro-electric generating facilities was Niagara Falls. When a generator was connected to turbines in 1881, it would provide power to light up the falls at night, making it a tourist attraction. That same hydro-power setup is still providing amazement and wonder to tourists today.

Hydro-Power Is Less Expensive

Appleton Wisconsin is home to the first hydropower commercial facility in America. This facility was built in 1882 to provide power that lit-up homes and a paper mill. HydroPower cost less to use than many other energy sources. Idaho, Oregon, and Washington get most of their electricity from hydro-power. Their energy bills are the lowest in the country. In fact, in Washington State, more than 70% of their electricity is provided by hydropower.

When there is a hasty demand for electricity, hydro-power facilities can reach maximum output fast to meet that demand. Power from those plants dispatch the power on-demand to the grid. This makes hydropower essential for back-up power when there is a major electricity disruption.

Wildlife Is Safe With Hydro-Power

Contrary to the belief of many, hydropower does not endanger wildlife. Dams are setup with devices like fish elevators and ladders that assist fish and all wildlife to move around the damns and in between the rivers freely. And hydro-power also helps power sources like nuclear, solar, and wind by storing the generated electricity, almost like a battery.