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Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric energy is energy obtained from harnessing the potential energy of a body of water located at one point of the river (the highest in the hydroelectric system) to convert it first into mechanical energy and finally into electrical energy available at the lowest point of the system.

A hydroelectric power plant is made up of a set of hydraulic installations (weir or dam, canal, pipes, etc.) and electromechanical equipment (turbines, generators, electrical system, etc.) needed to transform the potential energy into available electrical energy. The electrical power obtained is proportional to the flow rate of the water used and the height of the fall exploited.

Plants can be classified into three main groups by system of operation:

Run-of-the-river power stations: these are facilities which create an intake in a weir to capture part of the river flow and lead it to the power station to drive the turbine and then be returned to the river.

Dam power plants: these are installations that take advantage of the difference in level created by the dam itself, being able to regulate the output flows to the turbines depending on the uses of the dam (hydroelectric, irrigation or supply) or as required. Within this classification, it is worth highlighting pumping or reversible power plants, which, in addition to generating energy in the same way as a conventional power plant (turbine mode), have the capacity to raise water to a reservoir by consuming electrical energy (pumping mode).

Power plants integrated in water networks: these are installations integrated into irrigation or navigation channels, drinking water distribution networks, pressurised pipelines or wastewater treatment plants.

A small-scale hydroelectric plant is a hydroelectric installation whose installed power is less than or equal to 10 MW.

C.H. Selga de Ordás, León
Central Hidroeléctrica Molino de Puente Alba
Central Hidroeléctrica del Porma, León