Moving water has kinetic energy. This can be transferred into useful energy in different ways. Hydroelectric power (HEP) schemes store water high up in dams. The water has gravitational potential energy which is released when it falls.
Let's see a good example of how water can be used to generate electricity.
As the water rushes down through pipes, this stored energy is transferred to kinetic energy, which turns electricity generators.
The Dam is built to retain the water. More electricity is produced if the water is more in the reservoir
Sluice Gates: These can open and close to regulate the amount of water that is released into the pipes.
Potential energy in the retained water is transferred into kinetic energy by water flowing through the pipes with high speed.
The force and high pressure in the water turns a series of shafts in a generator. Spinning shafts in the generator charges millions of coils and magnets to create electricity, which is regulated by a transformer. This is then transported via cables to homes and factories.
To build a dam there has to be valleys and rivers that flow all year round. This will help with the building and success of the dam. This way, the fullest effect of the waters kinetic energy can be tapped.
(Click here for more on hydro energy)
Click this image to see see an illustration of Global Distribution of Hydro-Power Generation Capacity.
Did you know...
Hydropower is renewable energy source that doesn't cause global warming because it doesn't releases dangerous greenhouse gases.
China is the largest producer of hydroelectricity, followed by Canada, Brazil, and the United States (Source: Energy Information Administration).
Hydropower is the most important and widely-used
renewable source of energy.