It's been an energy source since the late 1800s and today around 20% of the world’s power comes from hydro energy. As a renewable resource, hydro energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy around. 

How hydroelectric dams work

1

Using the power of gravity, water from a dam is channelled through pipes into a turbine. The fast-moving water turns the turbine blades.

2

The blades rotate a generator, which creates electricity. Once the water has done this job, it’s released back into the water system.

3

The electricity is transferred from a substation, through the electricity grid, and to your home. 

A video about hydro energy.

efs girl factoid 05

Facts about hydroelectricity

Like other forms of electricity generation, hydroelectricity (also called hydropower) uses a turbine to help generate electricity; using the energy of falling or flowing water to turn the blades. The rotating blades spin a generator that converts the mechanical energy of the spinning turbine into electrical energy. The amount of electricity generated from each power plant depends on the quantity of the flowing water and the height from which it falls. 

 

The Snowy Mountains Scheme is a famous Australian hydroelectricity project. Operating since 1974, it diverts water from melting snow and rain in the Snowy Mountains to produce hydroelectricity.

Tides are another source of hydro energy. Every day, the pull of the moon and the sun’s gravity move the oceans back and forth. Like waves, it is difficult to harness the power of tides; but scientists are working on it. 

Did you know that the street lights in Launceston, Tasmania, were powered by generators turned by the flow of the South Esk River way back in 1895?

efs bob factoid 05

Animation explaining how electricity is produced using a hydroelectric facility.

Wrap up

1

Hydro energy is a reliable, renewable source of clean energy that is captured from moving water. Hydropower!

2

Hydroelectric dams are the primary method used to capture hydro energy and convert it for large-scale electricity supply. 

3

The Snowy Mountains Scheme is Australia’s largest and most renowned hydroelectric dam. It took 25 years to build.

4

Wave energy and tidal energy are both being explored by scientists as new ways to generate electricity from moving water.