Hydro electricity uses the power of flowing water to turn a turbine that creates electricity. The amount of electricity produced depends on the volume and height of the water flowing through the turbine. After the water has run through the turbine it is returned to the river.
Hydro electricity is not a new technology when considered in relation to other renewable energy developments. The first hydroelectric plant was built in the US in 1882. Originally hydro power stations were built next to towns on a stream or waterfall. In recent times modern larger scale operations now dam rivers and can deliver electricity over large distances.
Hydro electricity is currently the biggest supplier of the world’s renewable energy. The top four countries using hydro power are USA, China, Brazil and Canada.
Hydro Electricity in Australia
Hydro Electricity has a history of development in Australia and is currently the largest supplier of Australia’s renewable energy. Tasmania and The Snowy Mountains have Australia’s largest Hydro Electricity operations.
There is still scope within Australia for deployment of small scale hydro electricity plants that can generate power from streams and rivers without requiring a dam. Small scale hydro electricity stations can be constructed on pre existing dams or use water diverted from a flowing river. The small scale application of hydro electricity can have less impact on river and stream systems because a dam may not be required.