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Hydroelectric Power Stations

A presentation about Hydroelectric power stations, and whether they are energy efficient or not.

Tilly Davies

on 28 October 2012

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Transcript of Hydroelectric Power Stations

Hydroelectricity: Go With The Flow Benefits and Negatives of Hydroelectricity The science and technology behind the resource A Career in Hydroelectricity: Project Development Engineer Interesting Information Hydroelectricity is classified as a renewable energy source. Hydroelectric power plants have a pump-storage plant that use two reservoirs, one at a higher location and another at a lower area. When there is a low demand for electricity like during the night, the potential energy of the water is stored in the higher reservoir by reversing the turbines. By reversing the turbines the water from the lower reservoir is pumped up into the higher reservoir for storage until it is needed. The stored water can later be released to turn the turbines and generate electricity as it flows back into the lower reservoir.

The process of how hydroelectric plants make energy is simple using complicated parts. Firstly the water in the reservoir behind the dam is potential energy and it is channeled in through the gates on the inside of the dam. The water then becomes kinetic energy as it travels down through the penstock. The penstock is a small tunnel sloping downwards towards the turbines, as the water moves down the penstock it becomes faster creating more kinetic energy. The water then spins the turbines blade which creates mechanical energy. While the blades of the turbines are spinning it then activates the generator. Generators are comprised of four basic parts to work, the shaft, the exciter, the rotor, and the stator. The turning turbines power the exciter which sends an electrical current to the rotor. The rotor is a group of electromagnets that spin inside a tight coil of copper wire which is the stator. Electricity is then created by the moving electromagnetics inside the wires of the stator thus being electric energy. The water after being used to turn the turbine then exists into the river. The generators electrical energy goes up into the powerhouse which connects to a transformer for the electricity to travel down power lines. So the process of how the water becomes electricity is potential energy, then kinetic energy, mechanical energy and finally electrical energy. Most hydroelectric power plants have multiple generators and turbines to make more electricity. Hydroelectricity is one of the largest renewable energy producers in the world, and it currently produce approximately 16 per cent of the worlds electricity. Once a Hydroelectricity Plant gets up and running, it produces clean, cheap and reliable energy that can be easily controlled, so that it can be turned on or off at anytime. Adding to this Hydroelectricity also doesn’t release any pollution or toxic chemicals into our rivers and water systems, and they don't produce very much carbon dioxide, so it helps to fight the greenhouse effect. A Hydroelectricity plant can also store fresh water for nearby towns and cities to use and it is the only renewable energy source that can produce energy in the same league as fossil fuels. Despite this, when a hydroelectricity plant is first built the developers have to flood an area of land near a waterway and this results in all of the vegetation dying and decaying, releasing CO and methane into the atmosphere. As well as this water quality can be damaged when the Hydroelectric systems transfer the water into energy. It can become higher in temperature, loses oxygen content, experiences siltation, and gains in phosphorus and nitrogen content. Nonetheless the benefits do outweigh the negatives of Hydroelectric power. Education: Becoming an engineer involves full high school and tertiary studies. At high school you have to do mostly science based subjects to become an engineer. The range includes Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Biology as well as English. To study engineering at university you have to get an ATAR score of at least 72.55, because most people in this profession study a Bachelor of Environmental Science and a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering. This would take you about 6 years to complete.

Duties of the job: A Project Development Engineer basically organizes and runs the development of project. In the Hydroelectric industry they have to research a project and it's planned development site, to make sure that it is feasible. At any one time a Project Development Engineer may be working on numerous sites and projects, including internationally. They also have to create a schedule for the project and make sure the paper work and documentation for the project is up to date. As well as this Project Development Engineers need to be able to train other team members in handling certain equipment and to organize group training sessions for the whole time. In simple terms the Project Development Engineer is the back bone to all of the plans to build a Hydroelectric Power Station.

Challenges: To make mistakes in this position can mean a lot extra time and work. Although this can be said for most professions, in hydroelectricity they can be particularly costly. Things like not surveying the area that a plant is going to be built can mean an extra strain on the environment, and more CO being released into the atmosphere. Of course mistakes are always going made, but keeping them at a minimum is important, for both the environment and for the project. As well as this there is a lot of pressure involved in being a Project Development Engineer. You are in charge of the whole project and making sure that it is on schedule, and you have to make sure that everyone in your team is up to date and working efficiently. Furthermore, you are trying to help the environment, and any mistakes you make can be held against you, especially if it harms the environment. These are the main challenges of being a Project Development Engineer.

Benefits: Being a Project Development Engineer has many great benefits. The salary is quite good - $55,000 to $75,000 a year, and this only increases with experience. As well as that, you get paid to travel internationally dozens of times a year to help organize projects. On top of that you also have opportunities to do extra courses at universities to expand your knowledge, and you get to help save the environment. Hydro electricity is the most renewable energy source in Australia. It accounts for 97% of Australia's renewable energy consumption the other 3% belonging to solar, wind, biomass and geothermal. Australia has a number of large hydroelectric plans, the most famous being the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. The snowy mountain scheme consists of sixteen major dams, seven power stations and a pumping station. Tasmania accounts for 29% of hydroelectric power, and New South Wales accounts for over half, 55 per cent. There are also hydroelectricity schemes in north-east Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and a small hydroelectricity project in South Australia.
As generating electricity goes hydroelectric power represents 10% of Australian production and 18% of world production. Hydroelectric power creates nearly one fourth of the world’s entire electricity.
China, Canada, Brazil, the United States, and Russia were the five largest producers of hydropower in 2004. The third largest hydroelectric power plant in the world is the Guri Dam, located in Venezuela. The second largest hydroelectric power plant is the Itaipu Dam, located on the border of Brazil and Paraguay. Lastly the largest hydroelectricity producer in the world is the Three Gorges Dam in China. The Three Gorges Dam was built on the Yangtze River the longest river in Asia and third in the world.
Most large countries have hydroelectric power plants but still quite a few don’t. The largest hydroelectricity power supplier in the world is China Producing 400GW (Gigawatts) which is twice as much as the second largest producer which is Canada. The next leading producer is USA, followed by Brazil, Russia, India, Norway, Japan and Venezuela. Most Hydroelectricity is produced in China and South America. Hydroelectric power stations cannot be built in any random river. They are normally built on naturally down sloping parts of the rivers in places that receive large rainfalls. In countries that don’t have the correct geographical features such as sloped rivers there are not many hydroelectric power. How is it used? Niagara the Robert Moses Niagara Power Plant and the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant, together generate more than 2.4 million kilowatts of electricity, which is enough to power 24 million 100 watt light bulbs.
Hydroelectricity is the most used source of renewable energy because it generates clean elctricity that is nearly on the same level as the electricity that fossil fuelled power stations create.
The largest hydroelectricity plant in the world based on electricity capacity is the Three Gorges Dam in the Peoples Republic in China, it has an instateneous capacity of 22,500 MW of energy.
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