We all know that the word hydro comes from the Greek “hydro” which means water. Hydroelectric power is electricity which has been generated by using the power of moving water. In SA electricity is generated with water we permit to flow from our large dams and reservoirs for this function.
Hydroelectric power makes up an significant part of a variety of water storage projects. A brilliant example of hydroelectricity is The Orange River project.
South Africa had eight facilities where electricity is generated by making use of fresh water. There are two facilities that makes use of pumped water storage projects where water is circulated between two reservoirs, where one is higher than the other.
A small amount of electricity is used to pump the water from the lower to the upper reservoir outside peak hours to keep the cycle in operation. The remainder of the projects consist of schemes of varying sizes – the two most noteworthy are both situated on the Orange River.
In China the Three Goges Dam is the largest and most ambitious functioning hydro-electric power plant in the world, and the reservoir it uses is 600km long.
Tidal and Wave Power
The tides of the oceans can be used to generate power in a similar way that hydroelectric stations use water to generate power. This is not a method that is commonly utilised but tidal power has huge untapped potential for power in the future.
Wave power is a type of power that is increasingly being used. This is when the movement of waves on the coast is used for this purpose.
Using water and tides to generate power is not necessarily inexpensive, as the cost of building the dams could prove to be costly, but Government has got to do something about getting power to everyone in the near future – perhaps this is one way to overcome the shortage of electricity.
Using water power could perhaps unlock the future to our energy problems.