Hydroelectric power plants provide significant assistance to human civilization: they provide all industry and human housing with electricity. Although their construction poured into huge sums, all the costs are more than compensated for.
Characteristics of Russian HPPs
Hydroelectric power plants produce the cheapest energy in comparison with combined heat and power plants and nuclear power plants. When erecting such structures, two main problems may arise: cost and seasonality. As for the second nuance, here we mean the idleness of the hydroelectric power station in the winter period of time, since the rivers freeze over.
There are two types of hydroelectric power plants in Russia. The former are built on mountain rivers, while others are located on large plains. The latter make up the overwhelming majority of Russian hydroelectric power plants. It should be noted that in European countries these stations are considered unprofitable, but in Russia they are located precisely on the plains. This decision of the power engineers is explained by the excellent irrigation of the lands adjacent to the hydroelectric power station.
Types of hydroelectric power plants in Russia
The operation of hydroelectric power plants is based on the principle of converting the kinetic energy of falling water flows into electricity. There are three types of hydroelectric power plants. For the first of them to work, special structures of a hydraulic engineering plan are needed, in which the required water pressure is formed. The energy conversion process takes place in turbines. It is here that kinetic energy becomes mechanical and subsequently electrical. Such hydroelectric power plants are located on slow flat rivers.
The next type of hydroelectric power station is a tidal station. They are built on the seashore and the tides are used to create energy. The arrangement of such structures is extremely expensive, while the energy in them is not constantly generated. That is why there are very few such hydroelectric power plants in Russia.
The third type is pumped storage stations. Such structures generate energy by pumping water from one reservoir to another. Moreover, the containers have the same volume, and one of the reservoirs is located above the other. At night, the liquid is pumped to the upper one, and during the day it gradually descends to the lower one. The pressure that is obtained as a result of manipulation is used to generate electricity.
A new type of hydroelectric power station is sleeve or damless. It is installed on hard-to-reach and shallow rivers due to its simplicity of design.
At present, the hydroelectricity of the Russian Federation includes thirteen large and about one hundred small hydroelectric power plants. The most powerful are located on the Yenisei, Volga and Ob River. For a year, the largest hydroelectric power plants are capable of generating more than twenty billion kilowatts of electricity.