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American International University-Bangladesh

(AIUB)
Hydro Electric Power
Station
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Hydro Power
Hydro-electric power is the power obtained from the energy of falling water where
as hydro-electric power plant is the power plant utilizing the potential energy of water at
a high level for the generation of electrical energy.
Hydro-electric power plants, however, can not be located everywhere. Firstly there
must be an ample quantity of water at sufficient head and secondly a suitable site must
be available. The amount of power that can be developed depends on the quantity of
water available, the rate at which it is available, the head etc. The electrical power, P
developed is given by the expression:

P = w Q H 9.81 watts

where w = specific weight of water in kg/m3
Q = rate of flow of water in m3/s
H = height of fall or head in metres
and = efficiency of generation.
In a hydro-electric power station, water head is created by constructing a dam across a
river or lake. The pressure head of water or kinetic energy of water is utilized to drive
the water turbines coupled to alternators and, therefore, generation of electrical power.
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Ten of the largest hydroelectric producers
Major schemes under construction
Major schemes under construction
Worlds 5 largest dams
Three Gorges Dam, China
Merits of Hydro-electric Power Plants

Hydro-electric power plants offer many distinct advantages over other power plants.
These advantages can be summarized as under:

No fuel is required by such plants as water is the source of energy. Hence
operating costs are low and there are no problems of handling and storage of fuels
and disposal of ash.
The plant is highly reliable and it is cheapest in operation and maintenance.
The plant can be run up and synchronized in a few minutes.
The load can be varied quickly and the rapidly changing load demands can be
met without any difficulty.
Very acute governing is possible with water turbines so such power plants have
constant speed and hence constant frequency.
There are no standby losses in such plants.
Such plants are robust and have got longer life (around 50 years).
The efficiency of such plants does not fall with the age.
It is very neat and clean plant because no smoke or ash is produced.
Highly skilled engineers are required only at the time of construction but later on
only a few experienced persons will be required.
Such plants in addition to generation of electric power also serve other purposes
such as irrigation and flood control.
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Demerits of Hydro-electric Power Plants
However, the hydro-electric power plants have the following demerits also:

It requires large area.
Its construction cost is enormously high and takes long time for erection
(owing to involvement of huge civil engineering works).
Long transmission lines are required as the plants are located in hilly areas
which are quite away from the load centre.
The output of such plants is never constant owing to vagaries of monsoons
and there dependence on the rate of water flows in a river. Long dry seasons
may affect the power supply.
Hydro-electric power plant reservoir submerges huge areas, uproots large
population and creates social and other problems.
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Site Selection of Hydro-electric Power Plants

The hydro-electric power plant is only a small part of the whole project. The
power station should be near the dam and storage reservoir. Such a location
reduces the length of the penstock and the loss of head in the penstock. In
view of this, several structures such as dam, intake, surge tank, power house
are involved in the site selection.
The essential requirements for hydro-schemes are: large catchment areas, high
rainfall, step gradients, favorable site for reservoir, solid sub-soil etc.
Many factors have to be considered in the selection but the following are the
most important:
Availability of water
Water storage
Head of water
Geological investigation
Water pollution
Sedimentation
Environmental effects
Access to site
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Hydrograph:
Hydrograph shows the variation of stream flow in m
3
/sec with
time for a particular river site. The time may be hour, week,
month or year. It is similar to the chronological load curve.

A hydrograph provides the following information:
The discharge at any time during the period under
consideration.
The maximum and minimum run off during the period.
The mean run off during the period.
Total volume of flow up to any time is given by the area under
the curve up to that point.
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Hydrograph:
J F M A M J J A S A N D
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
MONTHS
R
U
N

O
F
F

i
n

m
3
/
s
e
c
J F M A M J J A S A N D
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
MONTHS
R
U
N

O
F
F

i
n

m
3
/
s
e
c
J F M A M J J A S A N D
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
MONTHS
R
U
N

O
F
F

i
n

m
3
/
s
e
c
J F M A M J J A S A N D
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
MONTHS
R
U
N

O
F
F

i
n

m
3
/
s
e
c
Figure: Hydrograph of a flashy river
Figure: Hydrograph of a river
with steady flow
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Flow Duration Curve
Flow duration curve is a re-
arrangement of all the stream flow
elements of a hydrograph in a
descending order. It is similar to
the load duration curve. Each point
on a flow duration curve shows the
percentage time during the period
when the flow was equal or greater
than the given value. The area
under a flow duration curve gives
the total quantity of run off during
that period.
0 20 40 60 80 100
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
PERCENT OF TIME
R
U
N

O
F
F

i
n

m
3
/
s
e
c
0 20 40 60 80 100
2500
2000
1500
1000
500
0
PERCENT OF TIME
R
U
N

O
F
F

i
n

m
3
/
s
e
c
Figure: Flow duration curve
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Mass Curve
A mass curve indicates the total volume of
run off in cubic metre up to a certain
time. The abscissa can be a day, month
or year. The slope of the curve at any
point shows the rate of flow at that time.
If the rainfall is uniform throughout the
year, the mass curve will be straight
line having a uniform slope. Mass
curves are used in estimating the
capacity of storage reservoir in hydro-
projects.
The ordinate of mass curve can also be
plotted in terms of second-metre-day or
second-metre-month which means the
flow collected at a rate of one cubic
metre per second for one day or one
month respectively.
1 second-metre-month = 1 30 24 60
60
= 25,92,000 cubic metre.
Figure: Mass curve
J F M A M J J A S A N D
12000
10000
8000
6000
4000
2000
0
MONTHS
S
e
c
o
n
d
-
m
e
t
e
r
-
m
o
n
t
h
s
J F M A M J J A S A N D
12000
10000
8000
6000
4000
2000
0
MONTHS
S
e
c
o
n
d
-
m
e
t
e
r
-
m
o
n
t
h
s
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PROBLEMS TO SOLVE

1. A hydro-electric power plant operates under an effective head of 50 m
and a discharge of 94 m
3
/sec. Determine the power developed.
[46.107 MW]

2. The mean monthly discharge at a particular site is given below:

Month
Discharge
in m
3
/sec
Month Discharge
in m
3
/sec
January
February
March
April
May
June
200
400
600
2400
1200
1800
July
August
September
October
November
December
1600
1200
2000
1200
800
400
Draw the hydrograph, flow duration curve and mass curve.
Determine the average inflow and the power that can be developed at an
effective head of 90 m.
Determine the capacity of the storage reservoir based on the above one
year data neglecting the losses due to seepage, evaporation etc. Assume
overall generation efficiency to be 80%. [1150 m
3
/sec, 812.268 MW,
3350 second-metre-months]
PROBLEMS TO SOLVE

3. A hydro-electric power station is supplied from a reservoir of capacity 3 10
7
m
3
at
a head of 150 m. Determine the total energy available if the overall efficiency of the
plant is 70%. [8.58375 10
6
KWH]
4. A hydro-electric power station is supplied from a reservoir having an area of 50 km
2

and a head of 50 m. If the overall efficiency of the plant be 60%, find the rate at which
the water level will fall when the station is generating 30,000 KW. [7.337 mm/hour]
5. A hydro-electric scheme has a catchment area of 120 sq. km. The available run off is
50% with annual rainfall of 100 cm. A head of 250 m is available on the average.
Efficiency of the power plant is 70%. Find (i) average power produced and (ii) capacity
of the plant assuming the load factor to be 0.6. [(i) 3,266 KW, (ii) 5,443 KW]
6. A hydro-electric power station is supplied from a catchment area of 150 km
2
with an
annual rainfall of 200 cm and effective head of 300 metres. Assuming a yield factor of
60%, calculate (i) the available continuous power, (ii) the rating of the generator
installed [assume the load factor as 0.6] and (iii) net energy available in kwh.
[(i) [12598.46 KW, (ii) 21 MW, (iii) 110.3625 10
6
KWH]
7. A hydro-electric power station is supplied from a catchment area of 480 km
2
with an
annual rainfall of 1100 mm and effective head of 40 metres. 20% of the rainfall is lost
due to evaporation etc. The loss of head in the penstock is estimated to be 10%. The
turbine efficiency is 85% and the generator efficiency is 92%. Find capacity of the
plant assuming the load factor to be 0.6. [6.17 MW]
PROBLEMS TO SOLVE

5. A hydro-electric scheme has a catchment area of 120 sq. km. The available run off is
50% with annual rainfall of 100 cm. A head of 250 m is available on the average.
Efficiency of the power plant is 70%. Find (i) average power produced and (ii) capacity
of the plant assuming the load factor to be 0.6.


6. A hydro-electric power station is supplied from a catchment area of 150 km
2
with an
annual rainfall of 200 cm and effective head of 300 metres. Assuming a yield factor of
60%, calculate (i) the available continuous power, (ii) the rating of the generator
installed [assume the load factor as 0.6] and (iii) net energy available in kwh.


7. A hydro-electric power station is supplied from a catchment area of 480 km
2
with an
annual rainfall of 1100 mm and effective head of 40 metres. 20% of the rainfall is lost
due to evaporation etc. The loss of head in the penstock is estimated to be 10%. The
turbine efficiency is 85% and the generator efficiency is 92%. Find capacity of the
plant assuming the load factor to be 0.6.
PROBLEMS TO SOLVE

2. The mean monthly discharge at a particular site is given below:

Month
Discharge
in m
3
/sec
Month Discharge
in m
3
/sec
January
February
March
April
May
June
200
400
600
2400
1200
1800
July
August
September
October
November
December
1600
1200
2000
1200
800
400
Draw the hydrograph, flow duration curve and mass curve.
Determine the average inflow and the power that can be developed at an
effective head of 90 m.
Determine the capacity of the storage reservoir based on the above one
year data neglecting the losses due to seepage, evaporation etc. Assume
overall generation efficiency to be 80%.
Schematic Arrangement of a Hydro-
Electric Power Plant

The chief requirement for hydro-electric power plant is the availability of
water in huge quantity at sufficient head and this requirement can be met
by constructing a dam across a river or lake. The schematic arrangement
is shown in the following figure.
RESERVOIR
DAM
PRESSURE TUNNEL
SURGE TANK
TAIL
RACE
VALVE
HOUSE
PENSTOCK
POWER HOUSE
RESERVOIR
DAM
PRESSURE TUNNEL
SURGE TANK
TAIL
RACE
VALVE
HOUSE
PENSTOCK
POWER HOUSE
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Schematic Arrangement of a Hydro-
Electric Power Plant

RESERVOIR
DAM
PRESSURE TUNNEL
SURGE TANK
TAIL
RACE
VALVE
HOUSE
PENSTOCK
POWER HOUSE
RESERVOIR
DAM
PRESSURE TUNNEL
SURGE TANK
TAIL
RACE
VALVE
HOUSE
PENSTOCK
POWER HOUSE
An artificial storage reservoir is formed by
constructing a dam across a river (or lake) and a
pressure tunnel is taken off from the reservoir to the
valve house at the start of the penstock. The valve house
contains main sluice valves for controlling water flow to the
power station and automatic isolating valves for cutting off water
supply in case the penstock bursts. A surge tank is also provided
just before the valve house for better regulation of water pressure in
the system. From the reservoir the water is carried to valve house through
pressure tunnel and from valve house to the water turbine through pipes of
large diameter made of steel or reinforced concrete, called the penstock. The
water turbine converts hydraulic energy into mechanical energy and the
alternator coupled to the water turbine converts mechanical energy into
electrical energy. Water after doing useful work is discharged to the tail race.
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Important Elements of a Hydro-Electric
Power Plant
A hydro-electric plant consists of a reservoir for storage of water, a diversion dam,
an intake structure for controlling and regulating the flow of water, a conduit
system to carry the water from the intake to the water wheel, the turbines
coupled with generators, the draft tube for conveying water from water wheel to
the tailrace, the tailrace and a power house i.e. is the building to contain the
turbines, generators, the accessories and other miscellaneous items. Few of these
elements are discussed below:

Storage Reservoir
Dam
Forebay
Spillway
Intake
Surge Tank
Penstock
Tail Race
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants

The hydro-electric power plants may be classified according to (i) the extent of
water flow regulation available (ii) the availability of water head and (iii) the
type of load they supply.

(i) According to the extent of water flow regulation available the hydro-electric
power plants may be classified into:
Run-off River Power Plants without Pondage
Run-off River Power Plants with Pondage
Reservoir Power Plants

(ii) According to availability of water head the hydro-electric plants may be
classified into:
Low Head Hydro-electric Power Plants
Medium Head Hydro-electric Power Plants
High Head Hydro-electric Power Plants

(iii) According to the load supplied the hydro-electric power plants may be
classified into:
Base Load Plants
Peak Load Plants
Pumped Storage Power Plants for Peak Load
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
Some hydro-power plants are so located that the water is taken
from the river directly, and no pondage or storage is possible.
Such plants are called the run-off river power plants without pondage.
Such plants can use water only as and when available; these can
not be used at any time at will or fit any desired portion of the
load curve. In such plants there is no control on flow of water.
During high flow and low load periods, water is wasted and
during the lean flow periods the plant capacity is very low.
Such plants can be built at a considerably low cost. During the
high flow periods such plants can be employed to supply a
substantial portion of base load.
Run-off River Power Plants without Pondage
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
Pondage refers to storage at the plant to take care of hour to
hour fluctuations in load on the station. Pondage increases the
firm capacity of the of the station provided that the floods do
not raise the tail race water level thus reducing the effective
water head and plant output. Such plants can serve as base load
or peak load plants depending on the stream flow. When plenty
of water is available, these plants can be used as base load
plants. When stream flow decreases, these plants can be made
to work as peak load plants.
Run-off River Power Plants with Pondage
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
When water is stored in a big reservoir behind a dam, it is
possible to control the flow of water and use it most effectively.
Storage increases the firm capacity of the plant and it can be
used efficiently throughout the year. Such a plant can be used
as a base load plant or as a peak load plant as per requirement
depending the water stored in the reservoir, the rate of inflow
and the system load. Most of the hydro-electric power plants,
everywhere in the world, belong to this category.
Reservoir Power Plants
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
When water head is less than 30 m, the plant is called a low
head plant. A dam or barrage across the river creates the
necessary head. The power plant is located near the dam and,
therefore, no surge tank is needed. Either one half of the
barrage has regulating gates for discharge of surplus water
while the plant is in front of the second half or the plant is
constructed by the side of the river. Francis or Kaplan turbines
are used.
Low Head Hydro-electric Power Plants:
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
Medium head plants operate at heads between 30 & 100 metres.
An open channel brings water from main reservoir to the
forebay from where penstocks carry water to the turbines.
Francis or Kaplan turbines are used.
Medium Head Hydro-electric Power Plants:
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
The plants operating at heads above 100 m are generally
classified as high head plants. The civil works for these plants
include dam, reservoir, tunnel, surge tank and penstock.
Generally Francis turbines are used for heads below 200 m and
Pelton turbines for still higher heads.
High Head Hydro-electric Power Plants:
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
They feed the base load of the system. Thus they supply almost
constant load throughout and operate on a high load factor.
Base plants are usually of large capacity. Run-off river power
plants without pondage and reservoir power plants are used as
base load plants. For a plant to be used as base load plant, the
unit cost of energy generated by the plant should be low.
Base Load Plants:
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
They are meant to supply the peak load of the system. Run-off
river power plants with pondage can be used as peak load
plants during lean flow periods. Reservoir power plants can, of
course, be used as peak load plants also. Peak load plants have
large seasonal storage. They store water during off-peak
periods and are run during peak load periods. They operate at a
low load factor.
Peak Load Plants:
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
This is a unique design of peak load plant in which the plant
pumps back all or a portion of its water supply during low load
period. The usual construction is a tail water pond and a head
water pond connected through a penstock. The plant utilizes
some of the surplus energy generated by the base load plant to
pump the water from the tail water pond into the head water
pond during off peak hours. During peak load period this
water is used to generate power by allowing it to flow from the
head water pond through the water turbine to the tail water.
The capacity of the plant should be such that the plant can
supply the peak load for 4 to 10 hours. The plants can be used
in conjunction with hydro, steam and I.C. engine plants. This
plant is also called a hydraulic accumulator system.
Pumped Storage Power Plants for Peak Load:
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
Pumped Storage Power Plants for Peak Load:
DAM
HEAD
WATER
LEVEL
TAIL
WATER
POND
POWER
HOUSE,
TURBINES
AND PUMPS
PENSTOCK
DAM
HEAD
WATER
POND
DAM
HEAD
WATER
LEVEL
TAIL
WATER
POND
POWER
HOUSE,
TURBINES
AND PUMPS
PENSTOCK
DAM
HEAD
WATER
POND
Figure: Pumped Storage Power Plant
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
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Classification of Hydro-electric Power Plants
In the older plants separate motor driven pumps and turbine driven generators
were used. A recent development is a reversible turbine pump. Francis
turbine, which is just the reverse of Centrifugal pump, is normally used.
During peak loads, the turbine drives the alternator and the plant generates
electrical energy. During low loads, the alternator runs as a motor and drives
the turbine which now works as a pump for pumping the water into the head
water pond. This arrangement reduces the capital cost of the plant. The power
for driving the motor is taken from the system.
The efficiency of the plant is around 60 to 70 percent. Some water may
evaporate from the head water pond resulting in the reduction in the stored
energy or there might be run off through the soils. Also there will be some
energy loss in generating and pumping equipment and in power transmission.

Such plant can be operated only in inter-connected systems where other types
of generating plants, such as steam, nuclear, hydro, diesel plants, are available.
In carrying the peak loads of the system, such plants reduces the operating
costs of the steam or nuclear plants working in combination with them by
improving the load factor of the steam or nuclear plant and added capacity to
meet peak loads
Pumped Storage Power Plants for Peak Load:
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Advantages of Pumped Storage Power Plants
Pumped storage power plants have some very
important advantages. Some of these are given below:
Peak loads can be supplied at lower cost than that when
supplied by steam and nuclear power plants.
The steam and nuclear power plants can be operated at almost
unity load factor which ensures their most efficient and
economic operation.
Because of their ability to take up loads in a very short time
(pumped storage plants need a starting time of only 2-3 seconds
and can be loaded fully in about 15 seconds), the spinning
reserve requirement of the system is reduced.
In the event of extra demand coming up suddenly on the
system, such plants can be immediately switched on to meet
this extra demand.
They can be used for load frequency control.
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