The hydroelectric power plant is an energy conversion system that utilises the potential of water, or more rarely, the kinetic energy of a water flow. The runner of the hydro turbine is driven by the flow of water that rotates the shaft of the generator, thus producing electricity.
The hydroelectric power plant is supplied with water either from a reservoir created by a dam or through an open surface power canal built along a natural river bed, or by a penstock. After the completion of power generation process the water is returned into the original stream.
The main features of hydroelectric power plants:
- Longer service life (reaching even 100 years) than that of any other power generating systems,
- No carbon-dioxide is generated directly during their operation,
- The amount of electricity generated depends primarily on the availability of water the flow rate. It is not influenced by the availability or market conditions of traditional fuels,
- The hydroelectric power plant and the associated hydro-engineering structures can be used for several purposes (flood protection, sustainability of river navigation, water storage and irrigation from reservoirs and power generation).
Geothermal energy can primarily be utilised for thermal energy generation. The hot water heated by the internal energy of the Earth is pumped from production well having a sometime depth of even 3000 m. The energy of the hot water is transferred by a heat exchanger to the district heating system even at 105°C temperature. Finally, the cooled down water is injected into the ground again.
The main features of geothermal heating plants:
- The rate of thermal energy generation is practically constant. It is not dependent either on the state of nature or on the availability of energy carriers and the fuel importing conditions,
- During the operation of these plants no carbon-dioxide is emitted directly into the atmosphere,
- Extensive geological and hydrogeological surveys are needed in order to judge the viability of geothermal heating plants.
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