Hydroelectric stations act as factories that convert the energy of falling water into the flow of electrons or what is commonly known as electricity.
Most hydroelectric stations use either water from the natural drop of the river such as waterfalls or rapids, or from a dam built across the river to raise the water level and to provide the drop needed to create a driving force.
Water at the higher level is collected and flows through the plant intake into a pipe which carries it down to a turbine water wheel at the lower water level. The water pressure increases as it flows down the pipe. It is this pressure in flow that drives the turbine that is connected to the generator. Inside the generator is the rotor that is spun by the turbine. Large electromagnets are attached to the rotor located within coils of copper wire. As the generator rotor spins the magnets, a flow of electrons is created in the coils. This produces electricity that can be stepped up in voltage through the station transformer and sent across transmission lines. The falling water, having served its purpose, exits the generating station, where it rejoins the main stream of river.
Topics: Large Hydro