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Hoover Dam at night. Photo: Janie.


H y d r o e l e c t r i c i t y
Ta n v i
b a s i c i n f o r m a t i o n a n d h i s t o r y o f h y d r o e l e c t r i c i t y ( s l i d e s 2 & 3 )
c o n v e r t i n g m o v i n g w a t e r t o e l e c t r i c i t y + v i d e o ( s l i d e s 4 & 5 )
e n v i r o n m e n t a l a n d s o c i e t a l c o n c e r n s ( s l i d e 6 )
B. Arch.
l o w i m p a c t h y d r o p o w e r ( s l i d e 7 )
t h e f u t u r e o f h y d r o p o w e r ( s l i d e 8 )
Sem 6
b i b l i o g r a p h y ( s l i d e 9 )
Passive Design

By taking advantage of gravity and the water cycle, we have tapped into one of nature's engines to
create a useful form of energy. In fact, humans have been capturing the energy of moving water for
thousands of years. Today, harnessing the power of moving water to generate electricity, known as
hydroelectric power, is the largest source of emissions-free, renewable electricity, worldwide.

India's Srisailam Dam. Photo: Chintohere/Wikimedia Commons

Although the generation of hydropower does not emit air pollution or greenhouse gas emissions, it
can have negative environmental and social consequences. Blocking rivers with dams can degrade
water quality, damage aquatic and riparian habitat, block migratory fish passage, and displace
local communities. The benefits and drawbacks of any proposed hydropower development must be
weighed before moving forward with any project. Still, if it's done right, hydropower can be a
sustainable and nonpolluting source of electricity that can help decrease our dependence on fossil

the hydropower resource

On Earth, water is constantly moved around in various states, a process known as the hydrologic
cycle. Water evaporates from the oceans, forming into clouds, falling out as rain and snow,
gathering into streams and rivers, and flowing back to the sea. All this movement provides an
enormous opportunity to harness useful energy.
In 2011, hydropower provided 16 percent of the worlds electricity, second only to fossil fuels.
Worldwide capacity in 2011 was 950 gigawatts (GW), with 24 percent in the China, eight percent in
the United States, and nine percent in Brazil. Globally, hydroelectric capacity has more than
doubled since 1970.

Montana's Kerr Dam. Photo: Paul Frederickson

converting moving water to electricity

In order to generate electricity from the kinetic
energy in moving water, the water has to move
with sufficient speed and volume to spin a
propeller-like device called a turbine, which in
turn rotates a generator to generate electricity.
Roughly speaking, one gallon of water per
second falling one hundred feet can generate
one kilowatt of electricity.
To increase the volume of moving
water,impoundmentsor dams are used to
collect the water. An opening in the dam uses
gravity to drop water down a pipe called a
penstock. The moving water causes the turbine
to spin, which causes magnets inside a
generator to rotate and create electricity.
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There are a variety of types of turbines used at

hydropower facilities, and their use depends on
the amount of hydraulic head (vertical distance
between the dam and the turbine) at the plant.
The most common are Kaplan, Francis, and
Pelton wheel designs. Some of these designs,
called reaction and impulse wheels, use not just
the kinetic force of the moving water but also
the water pressure.
The Kaplan turbine is similar to a boat
propeller, with a runner (the turning part of a
turbine) that has three to six blades, and can
provide up to 400 MW of power. The Kaplan
turbine is differentiated from other kinds of
hydropower turbines because its performance
can be improved by changing the pitch of the
blades. The Francis turbine has a runner with
nine or more fixed vanes. In this turbine design,
which can be up to 800 MW in size, the runner
blades direct the water so that it moves in an
axial flow . The Pelton turbine consists of a set

Hydropower can also be generated without a

dam, through a process known as run-of-theriver. In this case, the volume and speed of
water is not augmented by a dam. Instead, a
run-of-river project spins the turbine blades by
capturing the kinetic energy of the moving
water in the river. Hydropower projects that
have dams can control when electricity is
generated because the dams can control the
timing and flow of the water reaching the
turbines. Therefore these projects can choose to
generate power when it is most needed and
most valuable to the grid. Because run-of-river
projects do not store water behind dams, they
have much less ability to control the amount
and timing of when electricity is generated.

Another type of hydropower technology is called

pumped storage. In a pumped storage
plant, water is pumped from a lower reservoir to
a higher reservoir during off-peak times when
electricity is relatively cheap, using electricity
generated from other types of energy sources.
Pumping the water uphill creates the potential to
generate hydropower later on. When the
hydropower power is needed, it is released back
into the lower reservoir through turbines.
Inevitably, some power is lost, but pumped
storage systems can be up to 80 percent
efficient. There is currently more than 90 GW of
pumped storage capacity worldwide, with about
20 percent of that in the United States. The need
to create storage resources to capture and store

Environmental and societal concerns

While hydropower generation does not emit global warming gasses or other air pollutants, the construction and operation of hydropower
projects can have environmental and societal consequences that greatly depend on where the project is located and how it is operated.
Dams that have flooded areas with live vegetation can emit methane, a powerful global warming gas, as that organic material decomposes. For
example, the Tucurui dam in Brazil created a reservoir in the rainforest before clearing the trees. As the plants and trees began to rot, they
reduced the oxygen content of the water, killing off the plants and fish in the water, and released large quantities of methane.
Hydropower projects can reduce the flows in rivers downstream if the upstream flows are trapped behind a reservoir and/or diverted into canals
that take the water off stream to a generation unit. Lowering the flows in a river can alter water temperatures and degrade habitat for plants
and animals. Less water in the river can also reduce oxygen levels which damage water quality.
Water is typically stored behind a dam and released through the turbines when power is needed. This creates artificial flow patterns in the
downstream river that may be very different from the flow patterns a river would naturally experience. For example, rivers fed mostly by
snowmelt may experience much higher flows in the winter and spring than the summer and fall. Hydropower operations may differ from these
natural flow patterns, which has implications for downstream riparian and aquatic species. If water levels downstream of a hydropower project
fluctuate wildly because of generation operations, fish could be stranded in suddenly shallow waters. If operations cause a more static flow
schedule throughout the year than what the river would normally experience, the movement of sediment along a river section could be
disrupted, reducing habitat for aquatic species. Fewer seasonal flow events could also cause a riparian corridor to thicken into a less dynamic
channel as saplings that would usually be seasonally thinned by high flows are able to mature.
Dams can also block the migration of fish that swim upstream to reach spawning grounds. In the Pacific Northwest and California, large dams
have blocked the migration of coho, chinook, and sockeye salmon from the ocean to their upstream spawning grounds. The number of salmon
making the journey upstream has fallen 90 percent since the construction of four dams on the lower Snake River. Some steps are being taken
to move fish around the dams, such as putting them in barges or building fish ladders, but success has been limited. Downstream fish passage
The flooding
of land to create
can also be a challenge since young fish can be chewed up in the turbines of the dam as they head towards
the ocean.

reservoirs can also eliminate

areas where people live or grow
crops. The Balbina dam in Brazil,
for example, flooded 2,360 square
kilometers, an area the size of
Delaware [8]. Population density
is typically higher along rivers,
leading to mass dislocation of
urban centers. The Three Gorges
Dam in China dislocated nearly
1.2 million people [9].
Wildlife habitats destroyed by
reservoirs can be especially
valuable. In South America, 80
percent of the hydroelectric
potential is located in rain forests,
one of the most rich and diverse
ecosystems on Earth. The Rosana

Lo w i m p a c t h y d ro p o w e r

While hydropower operations can cause negative environmental impacts, the way a project is operated can make a big difference in its degree of
environmental footprint. Projects can manage flow releases from dams to ensure there is enough water in the river to support native species. Flows can
also be scheduled to mimic natural flow patterns, which help transport sediment and mimic biological cues that would have been provided by the natural
flow cycle. Retrofitting dams with fish passage equipment and even removing dams in some key river reaches can greatly improve access to upstream
Hydroelectric facilities that want to reduce their environmental impacts can undergo a voluntary certification program developed by the
Low Impact Hydropower Institute(LIHI). LIHI is a nationally recognized independent nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the harmful impacts of
hydropower generation by creating a credible and transparent standard for consumers to use in evaluating hydropower. Through the establishment of the
Low Impact Hydropower Certification Program, LIHI certifies hydropower facilities with environmental and social impacts that are low compared with
other hydropower facilities based on objective criteria.
To be LIHI-certified, a facility must adequately protect or mitigate its impacts in the following areas: river flows, water quality, fish passage and
protection, watershed protection, threatened and endangered species protection, cultural resource protection, recreation, and facilities recommended for
removal. The certification criteria are based on the more recent and most stringent mitigation measures recommended for the hydropower project by
state and federal resource agencies, even if those measures are not a requirement for operating the facility

the future of hydropower

A d v a n c e s i n fi s h - f r i e n d l y t u r b i n e s a n d i m p r o v e d d a t a c o l l e c t i o n t e c h n i q u e s t o i n c r e a s e
t h e e ff e c t i v e n e s s o f fi s h p a s s a g e t e c h n o l o g i e s c r e a t e e x c i t i n g n e w o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r t h e
h y d r o p o w e r i n d u s t r y. I f c o n s t r u c t e d a n d o p e r a t e d i n a m a n n e r t h a t m i n i m i z e s
environmental and cultural impacts, hydropower projects can provide low-cost, clean
sources of electricity to urban and rural areas throughout the world. Harvesting the
power from our rivers can be part of a smart and diverse set of solutions for reducing
our dependence on fossil fuels, and the impact they have on our climate and public
health. The ability to ramp up and down hydropower generation is a valuable source of
fl e x i b l e g e n e r a t i o n o n t h e e l e c t r i c i t y g r i d , w h i c h c a n d i r e c t l y d i s p l a c e c o a l a n d n a t u r a l
gas, and help integrate larger amounts of variable renewable energy resources, like
w i n d a n d s o l a r p o w e r.

Since most developed countries have already developed their most accessible areas for
large-scale hydropower, growth of these projects will likely be concentrated in nations
with growing populations and developing economies. According to the International
Hydropower Association, more than 30 GW of new hydropower capacity was
c o m m i s s i o n e d i n 2 0 1 2 , w i t h s i g n i fi c a n t i n v e s t m e n t o c c u r r i n g i n S o u t h A m e r i c a , A s i a ,
and Africa. In Brazil, three large projects are under construction in the Amazon region
t o t a l i n g m o r e t h a n 2 2 G W o f g e n e r a t i o n c a p a c i t y.
There is also additional potential to increase electricity generation at existing


thank you

Ta n v i
B. Arch.
Sem 6
Passive Design