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What is it?

Hydropower station is that energy obtained from using the potential energy of a water course to first convert it into mechanical energy and then in electricity. A hydropower plant is a set of facilities and equipment necessary to perform this energy transformation.

Between the hydropower plants it is considered mini hydraulic plants, those with less than 10 MW power installed.

Within the category of. mini hydraulic plants there are the micro hydraulic plants that are those with a power lower than 1MW and the pico hydraulic plants with less than 100 kW power.

According to the site of the hydropower station it is realized the following general classification:

  • Flowing water hydro power plants. They capture a part of the flow of the river and move it towards the power station and once used, it is returned to the river.
  • Power stations foot of dam. They are under the reservoirs for hydroelectric purposes or other uses, taking advantage of the gap created by the dam itself.
  • Central supply or irrigation channel. They harness the energy of the flow rate of water flowing through the canal or pipeline. They usually require less civil works.

The energy obtained in mini hydraulic plants offers the following environmental benefits:

  • Use of water without alteration of its properties.
  • Clean energy. Does not produce polluting wastes.
  • Friendly with the environment. Impacts generated are small and easily minimized taking the appropriate measures (scales for fish, environmental flow, burying of pipelines, etc).
  • Inexhaustible thanks to the natural hydrological cycle.

The socio-economic benefits include:

  • Autochthonous character. Its development implies the reduction of the degree of dependence on foreign energy and the reinforcement of the security supply.
  • Nature of the distributed generation. The production units are located near the consumption points.
  • Creation of a greater number of jobs and of economic activity compared with conventional technologies.
  • Contribution to territorial cohesion. In the majority of the cases new installations have been placed in rural areas.

Many of these advantages of hydropower are shared with other renewable sources of energy such as sun or wind. Doing a comparison with other renewable technologies it is important to emphasize the following advantages:

  • High efficiency (70-90%), well above other renewable technologies.
  • High level of predictability and manageability.
  • Good correlation with demand, since it is maximal in winter.
  • Durable and strong technology with low-maintenance.