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00:00 – Intro
01:22 – Grid stability
02:24 – Trend of renewable energy
03:14 – Hydropower generation
03:44 – Hydropower turbines
06:55 – Hydropower Plants


Electricity is produced by a diversity of energy sources, and different types of technologies.

According to the U.S Energy Information Administration, in 2020:
– Natural gas represented the largest source of energy production, at about 40%
– Coal represented about 19%
– Petroleum at 1%
– Nuclear energy, producing electricity from nuclear fission, represented 20%

As for renewable energies, those have been rapidly varying their share of U.S. electricity.
The total amount of electricity produced by renewable energy in the U.S is about 20%.

Here is a breakdown in 2020:
– Hydropower plants produce about 7.3%
– Wind Generation: 8.4%
– Biomass: 1.4%
– Solar: 2.3%
– Geothermal: 0.5%

Renewable energy has become a very hot topic in today’s world. We see and hear more every day about solar and wind power generation.

What we don’t talk about, however, is that with the increased use of wind and solar energy, comes the increased concern about grid stability.

The equilibrium between how much load is generated, and how much load is required by the grid is a continuous balancing act, which needs stability and is crucial in order to avoid blackouts. The energy generated needs to constantly be equal to the energy consumed.

When it comes to generating power via the use of wind or solar energy, there are uncertainties that need to be accounted for: Either the sun is bright and shining, or it is not. Either you have wind making your turbines spin, or you don’t.

What we are doing by the addition of those energy sources is essentially adding more and more instability to the grid.

This is where hydropower comes in… not only do the hydropower plants have the ability to store fuel (or water!), they also have the ability to respond to grid variations, also referred to as load requests within fragments of a second due to its governing systems that control the turbine’s speed.

That is why hydropower is often referred to as the Guardian of the Grid!

How is hydropower actually generated?
Well… the energy is generated by the same principles ancient Greek farmers used to grind grain: the flowing water spinning a wheel or a turbine.

Hydroelectric power plants are always located near a water source due to the fact that water is the source of hydroelectric power.

Inside the power plants, there are different types of turbines, but for today, we will look into the turbine known as the Francis turbine or the friendly Francis. It takes the friendly nickname due to being less complex to control, with fewer parts and fewer variables.

The difference in elevation, created by the dam, between water level from intake and discharge is what is referred to as head.

With the exception of the not-so-common diversion turbine, which relies on the natural flow of water to create motion, hydro turbines are often built at a lower elevation.

Francis turbines require a low and medium head. This means that the dam is smaller than when compared to the dams needed for the other turbine’s head’s requirements.

Wicket gates are how governors can control the speed of the turbine!
The turbine then turns the attached shaft which spins your generator, to produce electricity. That electricity then travels through power lines all the way to your home… and gives you light!

We have two other types of turbines, the Kaplan and the Pelton turbine.
– A Kaplan turbine has not only gates but also blades!
– A Pelton Turbine spins on air just like the Greek farmer’s wheels.


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Power Plant Explained | Working Principles

Speed Droop in Power Control Explained


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