Power Generation in Hydroelectric Power Plants
The hydroelectric power plants utilize kinetic and potential energy of the water flowing in the river and convert it into electricity. Throughout the world there are large numbers of hydroelectric power plants and there are some countries in the world that rely heavily on the electricity produced from the hydroelectric power plants. Let us see what makes hydroelectric power plants as one of the best options after thermal power plants to produce electricity on large scale basis.
Advantages of Hydroelectric Power Plants
1) No fuel required: One of the major advantages of the hydroelectric power plants is that they don’t require any fuel for producing power. The hydroelectric power plants utilize renewable energy of water to generating electricity.
2) Cost of electricity is constant: Since no fuel is required for the hydroelectric power plants, the cost of electricity produced by them is more or less constant. It does not depend on the cost of fuels like coal, oil and natural gas in the international market. The country doesn’t even have to import the fuel for running the hydroelectric power plant thus saving lots of local currency.
3) No air-pollution is created: Since the hydroelectric power plants don’t burn any fuel no pollution is caused by them. It does not emit harmful gases and particulate matter, thus keeps the surrounding atmosphere clean and healthy for living.
4) Long life: The life of hydroelectric power plants is longer than the life of thermal power plants. There are some hydroelectric power plants that were built more than 50-100 years ago and are still running.
5) Cost of generation of electricity: For the working of hydroelectric power plant very few people are required since most of the operations are automated, thus operating costs of hydroelectric power plants are low. Further, as the hydroelectric power plants become older, the cost of generation of electricity from it becomes cheaper since initial capital cost invested in the plant is recovered over the long period of operations.
6) Can easily work during high peak daily loads: The daily demand of power is not constant throughout the day. The peak power occurs at night. It is very difficult to start and stop the thermal and nuclear power plants on daily basis. The hydroelectric power plants can be easily started and stopped without consuming much time. Water can be collected in the dam throughout the day and this can be used to generate electricity during peak periods.
7) Irrigation of farms: Water from the dams can also be used for the irrigation of farm lands thus producing the agriculture outputs throughout the year even in the areas where there is scanty or no rainfall.
8) Water sports and gardens: In vicinity of the dams the water from reservoir can be utilized to develop public recreational facilities like water parks for water sports and gardens.
9) Prevents floods: The dams also help prevent floods in the areas adjoining the large rivers.