The Different Types of Hydropower Plants

Not all hydropower stations use dams or reservoirs to produce energy. Let’s learn about the different types of hydropower facilities built around the world.

Pumped Storage

The first type of hydropower plant we are going to discuss is called pumped storage. It works like a battery that stores electricity that has been generated. The electricity stored can be put to use later. The same feature is available in solar, wind, and nuclear energy.

The pumped storage method uses elevation to generate electricity. The water is pumped uphill to a reservoir at a high altitude. The second reservoir is present at a lower elevation.

When there is not as much demand for electricity, the storage tank stores electricity by pumping water from the second reservoir to the upper or primary reservoir.

On the other hand, when the demand for electricity increases, the water is released to the reservoir present at the lower altitude. The downward pressure motion will turn the turbines to produce electricity.


The most common hydropower plant you will learn about is called an impoundment. It is based on a dam that pools river water to create a reservoir. It is also known as the impoundment facility, where a vast hydropower system produces energy.

When the dam is required to produce energy, the water is released from the reservoir. The water flows through the turbine. The pressure from the water flow spins the turbines that activate their wings to produce electricity.

The water flow is constantly managed to produce energy or maintain the reservoir water to not flood the surrounding areas.


The next type of hydropower generation is rarely heard of. It is called diversion or run-of-a-river. Energy is produced using a small portion of water from the river as the water is diverted using a penstock or a canal.

Strong pipes called penstocks transport water from a water body to the turbines. These are constructed from steel or concrete to stay operative for a very long time.

Diverted hydropower does not require a dam and is perfect for lighting up a small settlement or a nearby village. The inhabitants can also use diverted hydropower as a supplement to its power generation requirements.

Levels of Hydropower Electricity

– You may hear different variations of the capacity of a large hydropower station.

– A large-scale power station generates more than 30 megawatts of energy.
The smaller hydropower stations will generate only 10 megawatts or less electricity, so they are mainly used as a secondary or tertiary power source. It is erected by utility bidder to provide electricity to remote areas too.

– If you want to light up a home, farm, or village, a micro hydropower station will generate 100 kilowatts of energy. It is not much but it is perfect to acquaint domestic demands.

The Final Words

Hydropower electricity is a multi-layered concept. The more you research, the more you learn. It has recently been the subject of many studies because of its environmentally friendly and greener component.

Published by Larry Fire

I write an eclectic pop culture blog called THE FIRE WIRE that features articles about books, comics, music, movies, television, gadgets, posters, toys & more!

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