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Hydroelectric plants harness the power of water to generate electricity. Water falling from an elevated reservoir drives turbines beneath a dam to create the power.

Because water is the source of power, hydroelectricity is inexpensive and environmentally friendly. However, the amount of power that can be created by hydroelectricity is limited by the volume of water held by the dam.

How Do Conventional Hydro Plants Work?

1. Reservoir - The water is held in a reservoir, or lake, behind the dam.

2. Penstock - Penstocks lead the water into a chamber housing the turbine. The water is held at a higher elevation than the turbine, so that it can fall with enough force to strike the turbine’s blades and cause it to spin.

3. Turbine - The turbine wheel is attached by a shaft to a system of magnets and wires called a generator. As the turbine rotates, these magnets and wires also spin—producing electricity.

4. Draft Tube and Tailrace - 
The water returns to the river by passing through a draft tube under the turbine and into the tailrace.


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