How Hydropower Plants Work Term Paper 4 pages

Hydroelectric Power: The Renewable Energy Source

For centuries, human have been relying solely on the use of fossil fuel to produce energy. To anticipate the exhaustive use of fossil fuel that has hit the highest point and issued the fear of energy source shortage in the next decades, it is urgent to investigate the closest and renewable potentials to cover the advanced needs of energy.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
How Hydropower Plants Work Term Paper 4 pages
Just from $13/Page
Order Essay

One of the most popular sources that have been thoroughly investigated and mechanically tested is the use of hydroelectric power. Hydroelectric power plant utilizes natural power from the flowing water, which is channeled into a turbine. The flowing water holds enormous energy to spin the turbine and operate generators. Human can get endless supply of electricity from dams, rivers, waterfalls, or artificial channels.

Unlike the fossil fuel, flowing-water power doesn’t run out as long as the water cycle is kept undamaged. This renewable energy source does not limit energy consumption to the earth content and applies easily on many types of water sources. In this way human obtain enough supply without having to destroy the environment for another oilrigs.

Hydropower also has more benefits and less pollution impact as created by another form of power plant. Hydropower plants produce lower gas emissions to the atmosphere than diesel or fossil fuel power plants do. It does not produce liquid waste either. On the other hand, hydropower plants enable the surrounding population to control the water level, reduce the flood risk, obtain regular irrigation schedule for their plantations and enough electricity (Coface Environmental Guidelines, 2002. p. 2)

Hydroelectric plant can be developed in large basis, such as at dams and water reservoirs, as well as in small scale use, for example for home and farms (National Renewable Energy Laboratory, -. par. 2, 4).

Large plants are built on dams and water reservoirs. The system utilizes the high-head hydro principle, which generates energy from the water stream. Water molecules contain potential energy, when after acceleration of its fall from the top of the dam is converted into kinetic energy, which then spins the turbine (Ordal, 2002. par. 2).

Many outsized dams use the high head standard. The higher the source of water, the higher kinetic energy it will create. As a result, many dams were built in towering construction, like Hoover Dam, Colorado, and most power plants in Norway.

Dam as the main construction is built to collect water from nearby streams. It can be a single block of a giant river, or take up input from several waterways. Dams are usually built with extremely high construction that allows the collected water to reach elevated level of the water surface, which makes it an artificial lake.

Down above the bottom of the dam, a channel is connecting the dam with the turbine pipe, secured with the control gate. When the control gate opens, water comes into the penstock channeling to the turbine and spins it. The turbine rotation activates the magnetic power in the generator and produces alternating current (AC) power. The power goes to the transformer and distributed later as the electricity. Meanwhile, the excess of water from the process exits through the outflow passage, into the normal stream or river on the other side of the dam (Bonsor, 2003. par. 6-12). The water storage at the dam is known as impoundment hydropower.

There is also another type of hydropower that pumps water from the lower to upper reservoir. The technique allows the plant to control the water consumption in the plant. When there is a great of electricity, the water is flowed back to the lower reservoir to turn the turbine (U.S. Department of Energy Hydropower Program, 2001. p. 3).

As for national scale, governments need to allocate serious investment to fund reservoirs development and facilities to integrate the power and electricity resulted. In the U.S., hydroelectric power use is taking about 7% of total energy source (Electric Power Monthly, as cited in U.S. Department of Energy Hydropower Program, 2001. p. 5). China also has moved on with the newest project of the Three Gorges Dam. The dam would be taking 400 miles for the reservoir only (Ordal, 2002).

However this technology sometimes does not work under specific circumstances. Norway, for example, ranked the sixth from the top hydroelectric generating countries in 1998. The country depends much on the hydroelectric stations that provide it economical source of electricity for its people. Once the government realized that they had trouble during the dry year, the electricity cost had increased to 400%. The prolonged dry season had left the dams empty that only limited sources of stored energy left, causing extreme hikes on electricity cost. It might cost 2-3 times higher than usual for the people to keep their houses warm and businesses to stay open.

Although reported to be efficient and satisfying, the development of large dams and utilization of powerful turbines have created superfluous effects that have traumatized the adjacent environment. (U.S. Department of Energy Hydropower Program, 2001. p. 7).

The main consideration is, such huge construction and landscape alteration required to build a dam will affect the organisms living in the streams and the natural platform of the neighboring areas. Dam construction will at least destroy the farms and villages, forcing the inhabitants to relocate; which costs very high.

The other obvious concern is about the threatened fish lifecycle in the river. The powerful movement of the water into the penstock and the turbine rotation has been proven of killing fishes in the rivers. The gravitation force draw fishes into the penstock, and the sharp blades of the turbine instantly bash them into pieces or leave them injured.

In North America, the dam operation is reported in endangering young fishes life, as the fishes are sucked into the pipes and smashed onto the wall, while others are killed for increasing water pressure inside the unit (Stoner, 2002. par. 7). Moreover, it is important to consider that the barrier effect of the dam building most likely blockade the natural salmon journey to the spawning site. Some dams have implemented ladder structures for the salmons to make their way through their home, however this method has been reported ineffective.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently introduced the new Advanced Turbine Technology to reduce the violent effect of the hydropower plant to the fishes. The new turbine has less blades and noise, and allows water to pass with less shocking effect to the fishes carried in the water. The design allows the turbine to produce more energy, around 6% greater than the conventional one (Stoner, 2002).

From the previous study, the advanced turbine technology reduces fish mortality to less than 2%, while on the current turbine system may reach 5-30%. Moreover, the turbine also retains the Dissolved Oxygen level to 6 mg/L, which meets the standard water quality for the existence of the organisms (U.S. Department of Energy Hydropower Program, 2001. p 7). The quality of this instrument is yet to be tested to find out whether it fulfills the need of environmentally friendly hydropower plant.

Works Cited

Bonsor, Kevin. “How Hydropower Plants Work.” 2003. How Stuff Works. 5 Mar. 2003.

Coface Environmental Guidelines. “Hydroelectric Power Stations and Large Dams.” November 2002. Coface Consulting. 5 Mar. 2003.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory. “Introduction to Hydroelectric Power.” Clean Energy Basic. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. 5 Mar. 2003.

Ordal, David. “Technology: How Hydro Actually Works.” 2002. Hydro Power. Department of Physics and Astronomy Pomona College. 5 Mar. 2003.

Stoner, Mark. “Hydropower: Environmental Effects.” 2002. Hydro Power. Department of Physics and Astronomy Pomona College. 5 Mar. 2003.

US Department of Energy Hydropower Program. “Hydropower Partnership With The Environment.” 2001. U.S. Department of Energy Hydropower Program. 5 Mar. 2003.

What Will You Get?

We provide professional writing services to help you score straight A’s by submitting custom written assignments that mirror your guidelines.

Premium Quality

Get result-oriented writing and never worry about grades anymore. We follow the highest quality standards to make sure that you get perfect assignments.

Experienced Writers

Our writers have experience in dealing with papers of every educational level. You can surely rely on the expertise of our qualified professionals.

On-Time Delivery

Your deadline is our threshold for success and we take it very seriously. We make sure you receive your papers before your predefined time.

24/7 Customer Support

Someone from our customer support team is always here to respond to your questions. So, hit us up if you have got any ambiguity or concern.

Complete Confidentiality

Sit back and relax while we help you out with writing your papers. We have an ultimate policy for keeping your personal and order-related details a secret.

Authentic Sources

We assure you that your document will be thoroughly checked for plagiarism and grammatical errors as we use highly authentic and licit sources.

Moneyback Guarantee

Still reluctant about placing an order? Our 100% Moneyback Guarantee backs you up on rare occasions where you aren’t satisfied with the writing.

Order Tracking

You don’t have to wait for an update for hours; you can track the progress of your order any time you want. We share the status after each step.


Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.

Areas of Expertise

Although you can leverage our expertise for any writing task, we have a knack for creating flawless papers for the following document types.


Trusted Partner of 9650+ Students for Writing

From brainstorming your paper's outline to perfecting its grammar, we perform every step carefully to make your paper worthy of A grade.

Preferred Writer

Hire your preferred writer anytime. Simply specify if you want your preferred expert to write your paper and we’ll make that happen.

Grammar Check Report

Get an elaborate and authentic grammar check report with your work to have the grammar goodness sealed in your document.

One Page Summary

You can purchase this feature if you want our writers to sum up your paper in the form of a concise and well-articulated summary.

Plagiarism Report

You don’t have to worry about plagiarism anymore. Get a plagiarism report to certify the uniqueness of your work.

Free Features $66FREE

  • Most Qualified Writer $10FREE
  • Plagiarism Scan Report $10FREE
  • Unlimited Revisions $08FREE
  • Paper Formatting $05FREE
  • Cover Page $05FREE
  • Referencing & Bibliography $10FREE
  • Dedicated User Area $08FREE
  • 24/7 Order Tracking $05FREE
  • Periodic Email Alerts $05FREE

Our Services

Join us for the best experience while seeking writing assistance in your college life. A good grade is all you need to boost up your academic excellence and we are all about it.

  • On-time Delivery
  • 24/7 Order Tracking
  • Access to Authentic Sources
Academic Writing

We create perfect papers according to the guidelines.

Professional Editing

We seamlessly edit out errors from your papers.

Thorough Proofreading

We thoroughly read your final draft to identify errors.


Delegate Your Challenging Writing Tasks to Experienced Professionals

Work with ultimate peace of mind because we ensure that your academic work is our responsibility and your grades are a top concern for us!

Check Out Our Sample Work

Dedication. Quality. Commitment. Punctuality

All samples
Thesis/Thesis chapter
Research paper
Essay (any type)
creating a Code of Conduct
View this sample
Research paper
Week 1 Journal Assignment
Undergrad. (yrs 3-4)
Human Resources Management (HRM)
View this sample
Research paper
Cultural Intelligence Presentation
View this sample
Research paper
Communicable Disease
View this sample
Research paper
Mental health
View this sample
Essay (any type)
Personalized Glossary of Research and Assessment Terms
View this sample

It May Not Be Much, but It’s Honest Work!

Here is what we have achieved so far. These numbers are evidence that we go the extra mile to make your college journey successful.


Happy Clients


Words Written This Week


Ongoing Orders


Customer Satisfaction Rate

Process as Fine as Brewed Coffee

We have the most intuitive and minimalistic process so that you can easily place an order. Just follow a few steps to unlock success.

See How We Helped 9000+ Students Achieve Success


We Analyze Your Problem and Offer Customized Writing

We understand your guidelines first before delivering any writing service. You can discuss your writing needs and we will have them evaluated by our dedicated team.

  • Clear elicitation of your requirements.
  • Customized writing as per your needs.

We Mirror Your Guidelines to Deliver Quality Services

We write your papers in a standardized way. We complete your work in such a way that it turns out to be a perfect description of your guidelines.

  • Proactive analysis of your writing.
  • Active communication to understand requirements.

We Handle Your Writing Tasks to Ensure Excellent Grades

We promise you excellent grades and academic excellence that you always longed for. Our writers stay in touch with you via email.

  • Thorough research and analysis for every order.
  • Deliverance of reliable writing service to improve your grades.
Place an Order Start Chat Now