Effectively converting the power of moving water to electricity is one of the cheapest forms of energy to harness, according to Geoscience Australia. Hydropower uses the force or energy of moving water to generate power, but how do we get it from the stream to the switch? Allow us to ‘enlighten’ you!
Hydropower is the oldest and most mature form of renewable energy. Farmers in Ancient Greece used water wheels to grind wheat into flour. While the Ancient Egyptians used hydropower to raise water levels for irrigation. To put it simply – hydropower is old hat!
What’s a hydroplant and can I eat it?
Hydropower is generated in hydroplants, which are usually made up of four parts –
- A dam that can be opened and closed to control water flow and a reservoir where the water is stored
- A turbine that is spun as a result of the water turning the blades of the turbine
- A generator that is connected to the turbine
- Transmission lines that carry the electricity generated in the hydroplant to homes and businesses
So how does water convert to power – give it to me straight doc!
When the dam is opened and the level of water rises, the force of water that rushes through the blades of the turbine makes it spin. The spinning generates mechanical energy which turns the hydroplants generator. The turning of the generator creates electrical energy, which is then collected and distributed via the transmission lines.
The amount of electricity that can be generated at a hydroplant is dependent on how far and how much water falls from the dam through the turbine – the more water and the greater height equals more mechanical energy, which creates more electrical energy. Science is awesome!
Powershops parent company, Meridian Energy, is Australasia’s largest 100% renewable generator, owning only renewable generation assets. In Australia, Meridian Energy owns three hydroplants across New South Wales and has an additional power purchase agreement with another hydroplant in Victoria. All of these hydro assets generate enough electricity to power 59,800 homes* – that’s more than all the homes in St Kilda, Bondi Beach and Noosa combined!**
Ultimately, we give a dam about renewables. So water you waiting for? Green out with us today!
* Based on an average household usage of 5MWh p.a
** Private dwelling data from ABS 2016 Census QuickStats
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