Beauty of Hydropower

The beauty of hydroelectric power is in its simplicity. It follows a simple principle and procedure which takes place by the conversion of forms of energy into one another and finally into work. The mechanism is very easy which follow the laws of conservation of energy. About 15% of world electricity needs are fulfilled by hydropower.

History of hydroelectricity

Archaeologists confirm that the history of the storage dam goes back to 5000 years to 3000 BC. Vitruvius was the first architect to explain a water wheel which could generate power. Then Barbegal from France in the 4th century AD worked on water wheels and generated a system of sixteen water wheels which followed the principle of kinetic energy into mechanical energy.

The basic principle of working of hydropower turbines

Mostly, the fast moving water (kinetic energy) strikes the turbines and they start moving (mechanical energy) and then this energy is used to run electric generators. The transference of energy takes place from one form to another. Now instead of water wheels water falling from a vertical height is used which has stored potential energy in it due to its position and the water is then passed through the gate or vessels which take the water to the turbines which convert potential energy into mechanical energy, these vessels are called penstocks.

Working of hydropower plant

There are four parts of a typical hydropower plant which are:


The dam is made on a river to collect water. Whenever it rains, the water is collected into the dam so it serves as a water reservoir. The potential energy for further work is generated by the water level difference between the dams and the turbines because the water level in the dams is very high. Dams also control the water flow through penstocks.


The next step is to convert this kinetic energy of water into mechanical energy. The water flows from a height throw the penstocks which are the channeled vessels to the turbines which have blades. The falling water has enough kinetic energy that when they strike hard with the blades of the turbines, they start spinning which means that the kinetic energy is converted into mechanical energy. The turbines resemble a lot with the windmills in which wind energy is used instead of water. But the turbines use potential and mechanical energy of falling water to convert into work.


The shafts of the turbines convert the mechanical energy into electric energy. Basically, the generators work on the principle of magnets which is that when you pass a magnet near a conductor, electric current flows through it.

Rotor and stator

The rotor having field pole rotates on a specific speed. When it rotates it passes the field poles across the stator to make sure that it has the same effect of electric field. The water should keep on moving constantly to make sure that the amount of electricity produced is great. Static water cannot generate electricity.

Transmission lines

The electricity via power lines is transferred to substation which provides it to the consumers.

So, the process is of great importance. It should be performed in a right manner to ensure the great production of electricity. This process is not much costly as no fuels are produced and not much health hazardous chemicals are produced by it. But the research is still going on.



Rinkesh is passionate about clean and green energy. He is running this site since 2009 and writes on various environmental and renewable energy related topics. He lives a green lifestyle and is often looking for ways to improve the environment around him.