Hydroelectric power is a kind of renewable energy which uses turbines to harness from water stored in dams or flowing or falling water. Flowing water or hydropower has been used to produce electricity for over 135 years. It is one of the oldest sources of energy. Hydroelectric power provides almost 1/5 of the world’s electricity. Because hydropower uses water as fuel, it is a clean fuel source. It won’t pollute the air like large power plants that burn coal or natural gas. Hydroelectric power is also a very reliable energy source especially for countries with large resources of hydroelectric power.
Kinds of Hydroelectric Power Plant
The first type of hydroelectric power plant uses a dam on to store water in a reservoir. Water released from the dam then flows through a turbine to produce electricity. Another type of hydroelectric power plant is called a pumped storage plant. Another type is a small or micro-hydroelectric power system.
Recently Developments in Hydroelectric Power around the World
China ranks no. 1 in the world and represents one quarter of the total world hydropower capacity. It was reported that China’s installed hydropower capacity reached 300 million kilowatt (kW) in 2014 making it the no.1 in the world. China is known for construction of projects like Three Gorges, Xiangjiaba, and Xiluodu hydroelectric stations, which makes it a forerunner in the hydropower industry in the world.
In Pakistan, the Ranolia run-of-river project is an effort to harness Pakistan’s energy potential. It is a project of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Government under the ADB supported Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Program.
Valhalla, a Chilean company, plans to build Espejo de Tarapaca (Tarapaca Mirror), a 300-megawatt solar and hydropower plant between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean is the Atacama Desert in Chile. The company’s co-founder and chief executive Juan Andres Camus said that the company would not need to construct dams because they have found natural depressions believed to be ancient lakes which can be used to store water. Chile also has good conditions for pump storage running with seawater. It is said the Valhalla will begin its construction in the second half of 2016.