Hydroelectric Power Plant Definition and Meaning
Originating from the Latin word centrālis, the central word is characterized by being a term with a great multiplicity of meanings. In this case, however, we are interested in focusing only on the definition that presents it as the place or structure where electrical energy is produced. This production can be carried out through different means.
What is known as a hydroelectric power station is an installation that takes advantage of hydraulic energy sources to create another of an electric type. Let’s see, therefore, what is hydraulic energy and what is electrical energy.
In addition to the above, and before entering fully into the definition of the aforementioned terms, it is important that we know that a hydroelectric plant is made up of a series of fundamental facilities such as the dam, the water intakes, the spillways, the house of machines and hydraulic turbines.
Energy, broadly speaking, is an ability or ability to transform something or set something in motion. The notion is used to name the resource of natural origin that can be exploited on an industrial scale through the application of various technology and resources. Hydraulic energy, in this framework, is a variety of energy that arises from the movement of water, taking advantage of the kinetic and potential energy of waterfalls, tides or water currents.
The electricity, on the other hand, stands out as an essential property that is evident in an object through attractions or repulsions between its components following the presence of protons or electrons. The type of energy based on this property and generated by the potential difference between two points is known as electrical energy.
The hydroelectric plant, in short, is an installation where the energy generated by the movement of water is used and transformed into electrical energy. This is accomplished by building dams or dikes with waterfalls, usually by modifying an existing watercourse. It is common that, with the construction of a hydroelectric plant, huge lands are flooded and aquatic ecosystems are altered.
There are various types of hydroelectric power plants, including the following:
Run-of-the-river hydroelectric plant. This can be defined as one in which there is not a significant amount of accumulated water in what is the upper zone of the turbines. It is essential for the operation of the same that yes that there is always a constant flow of water to be able to ensure a certain power.
Hydroelectric power station with reserve reservoir. As its name indicates, this type of plant is characterized by the fact that one or more dams are built so that water accumulated above the mentioned turbines can be counted on. This in turn leads to a differentiation between the utilization plants by water diversion or those of power houses at the foot of the dam.
Hydroelectric pumping station. If something defines this type of plant, it is that it achieves a much more rational use of the hydraulic resources that exist in a given area. This is achieved because it has two reservoirs located at different levels and with pumping stations that are the ones that generate the energy that is necessary.