HYDROELECTRIC POWER AROUND THE WORLD
1 In the past, people had a technology to generate the hydroelectric energy using a simple machine that was known as the water wheel that was caused to move or rotate in a specific motion by the use of water movement mainly in rivers, dams or any other water body with motion. This water wheel worked in manner that it was located below the source of flowing water and captured water in plate like projections that were in right angles to the wheel. The movement of the wheel converted the kinetic energy of the water into electrical energy which could now be used for various purposes (Saket, R, 2016). The first ever hydroelectric plant ever built was the one at Niagara Falls in the USA in the year 1879.
This accomplishment sure opened doors for a revolution on hydroelectric power plants. The rest is incurred only on small maintenance practices. This has driven many countries in the world to adopt this method of electricity production due to its efficiency. More than 50% of countries that have rivers with the potential to produce hydroelectric power have put in place structures to harness this energy3. According to research, hydroelectric power plants are proven to be the most common power plants all over the world. Ranking have been made over the years and a country like Canada is ranked to be the third largest country in the world to be producing hydroelectric power (Wang, B, 2014). The kinetic energy of these tides can therefore be converted by generators into sustainable electrical energy.
Tides are the constant changes in the levels of oceans or large water bodies caused by the gravitational force and the rotation of the earth. Tidal energy works quite in the same manner as the dams do, however here the dam is the entire coastal line4. A set of turbines connected to generators are then set up along the shore to capture the kinetic energy of the water as tides go up and down and convert it to sustainable and renewable energy. Structures are built at a level lower than the sea level so as to magnify the speed of the water during draining or filling process. Heating water causes it to change its state from liquid to gas meaning that molecules at this state are moving around very quickly.
When a large amount of water is heated, pressure accumulates due to the electrons or the particles repelling each other. This kind of pressure when released can generate very powerful energy5. This high pressure when directed to the turbines is converted to mechanical energy which causes the turbines connected to generators to spin. Production of electricity using steam turbines is clearly one of the ways that have been readily accepted by people all over the world as a means to produce sustainable energy. 7 The three Gorges on Yangtze River is said to be the largest plant due to the flow area that the plant covers. It is estimated to cover 2. 3 kilometers of in width and 185 meters in depth. The biggest hydroelectric production power plant in USA is Grand Coulee dam established on Columbia River located in Washington.
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