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Hydro Power Plants, An Overview Of The Current Types And Technology

September 25, 2020

Despite the long history of hydropower technology and rising number of system harvesting energy fromalternative sources, the constant research within hydro power sector becoming increasingly important as thepower from water was and still is the leading alternative source of green energy generation, capitalized not necessarily within micro-urban structures only. The advantages of hydro systems involve their relatively low acquisition cost against durability, the possibility of gaining energy independence, relatively high flexibility and adaptability for spatial conditions and energy demands of the end users. Nowadays micro hydro systems could capitalize head range starting at 100cm and the efficiency of hydro systems in general ranges between 65-75% in micro and small applications climbing up to 96% in macro designs. It is mostly due to flexibility in applications,
adaptability in combinations with other renewable energy systems and the ability to generate clean, stable, thus reliable energy that makes technical development the most vibrant and noticeable in the micro sphere.
Key words: hydro power, power plant, renewable resources, water Based on the last UNO reports there are 7.6 billions of people around the globe and this number is constantly rising. These increases in population rise along with trends of expanding urbanization (over 54%) resulting in rapid industrialization especially in the undeveloped regions which requires higher energy demands.

Naturally country goes through several development stages of industrialization until its inhabitants mature enough to use proper technology to harvest energy in clean and renewable way by having the lowest possible impact on the local flora and fauna. In 21st century the fast pace of local urbanization trends of Latin and South America, Asian, African and Indian regions eventuates ndustrialization processes that are many times seen skipping this natural development by applying the high-tech systems directly into individual dwellings of people who were literary growing crops few weeks ago. Teaching people how to use Renewable Energy Sources(RES) with 21st century technology is thus a crucial issue for discussion and if meaningful it needs to be taught step by step. Hydro power is commonly known as one of the oldest way how to harvest energy of the nature and capitalize it further. Thus studying and applying micro hydro power as decentralized RES is one of the ways how to make local people understand the current headings, energy demands and also insurance of the equitable rural and urban development in conjunction with plausible sustainable integration, hence expansion of cities without leaving the centralized energy sources in the hands of global corporations which taking advantage of rural development level and current state of art of its inhabitants.

As a matter of fact the largest annual hydro power development happens exactly in previously mentioned regions on all levels from micro community actions in the form of rural applications via personal pico or micro hydro turbines up to large scale hydro power projects. Details could be observed in the Table no. 1 below.

What is more, 71% of Earth´s surface is covered by water. The ocean currents or the wellknown hydrological cycle, water represents one of the most precious natural movements that hold the key to life on the planet and according to the recent research, water has been the component of the universe since its very beginning.
The bond between human and water is also quiet strong. Human is born in the amniotic sac composed mainly from water, hence the human ability to sense the water as the natural environment until the 3rd year after birth. In average 65% of the human body is made of water, 73% if it comes to infant. Water element is the closest to human nature just as the growing tendencies, undoubtedly observable in urban context). Water should be definitely part of this natural process ("nature to human to urban") of environmental interaction.

The energy of water is basically transformed solar energy. From the overall solar energy delivered by the Sun to Earth, it accounts for only 0.4%. However, the technically feasible energy conversion of water into electrical power in comparison to the direct conversion of solar energy is much more effective, which makes this source of energy very interesting for mass application.
After the intensive efforts of International Hydropower Association (IHA) which opposed the World Commission on Dams (WCD) report from 2000 regarding challenge for large dams effectiveness and guidelines for the development of new dams, hydro power worldwide is experiencing an upsurge. The total installed capacity has grown by 39% from 2005 to 2015,with an average growth rate of nearly 4% per year. The total hydropower generation forthe year 2016 is estimated at 4,102 TWh, the greatest contribution ever delivered from a renewable source. An estimated 31.5 GW of hydropower capacity was put into operation,including pumped storage, bringing the world’s total installed capacity to 1,246 GW. 6.4 GW of pumped storage capacity came online, nearly twice the amount installed in 2015 while there is a further 20 GW of pumped storage under construction globally. [6] As a mature technology, hydropower provides 16,4% of global electricity production. As to the energy storage the storage hydropower (including pumped storage, PS) represents between 96 - 99% of the world’s operational electricity storage with installed capacity over 162.2GW.