Hydroelectricity

The Three Gorges Dam in Central China is the world's largest power–producing facility of any kind.
Museum Hydroelectric power plant ″Under the Town″ in Serbia, built in 1900.
The Warwick Castle water-powered generator house, used for the generation of electricity for the castle from 1894 until 1940
A micro-hydro facility in Vietnam
Pico hydroelectricity in Mondulkiri, Cambodia
Measurement of the tailrace and forebay rates at the Limestone Generating Station in Manitoba, Canada.
The Ffestiniog Power Station can generate 360 MW of electricity within 60 seconds of the demand arising.
Merowe Dam in Sudan. Hydroelectric power stations that use dams submerge large areas of land due to the requirement of a reservoir. These changes to land color or albedo, alongside certain projects that concurrently submerge rainforests, can in these specific cases result in the global warming impact, or equivalent life-cycle greenhouse gases of hydroelectricity projects, to potentially exceed that of coal power stations.
The Hoover Dam in the United States is a large conventional dammed-hydro facility, with an installed capacity of 2,080 MW.
World renewable energy share (2008)
Trends in the top five hydroelectricity-producing countries
Share of electricity production from hydropower, 2020

Electricity produced from hydropower.

- Hydroelectricity

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Water wheel

Machine for converting the energy of flowing or falling water into useful forms of power, often in a watermill.

The reversible water wheel powering a mine hoist in De re metallica (Georgius Agricola, 1566)
Vertical axis water mill
Stream shot waterwheel
Undershot waterwheel showing headrace, tailrace, and water
Breastshot waterwheel showing headrace, tailrace, and water
Overshot waterwheel showing headrace, tailrace, water, and spillage
Backshot waterwheel showing headrace, tailrace, water, and spillage
One of Finch Foundry's water wheels.
The Anderson Mill of Texas is undershot, backshot, and overshot using two sources of water. This allows the direction of the wheel to be reversed.
Two types of hydraulic-powered chain pumps from the Tiangong Kaiwu of 1637, written by the Ming Dynasty encyclopedist, Song Yingxing (1587–1666).
Sequence of wheels found in Rio Tinto mines
Drainage wheel from Rio Tinto mines
Vitruvius' undershot-wheeled watermill (reconstruction)
Scheme of the Roman Hierapolis sawmill, Asia Minor, powered by a breastshot wheel
Ox-powered Roman paddle wheel boat from a 15th-century copy of De Rebus Bellicis
Water wheel powering a small village mill at the Museum of Folk Architecture and Life, Uzhhorod, Ukraine
Ore stamp mill (behind worker taking ore from chute). From Georg Agricola's De re metallica (1556)
Lady Isabella Wheel, Laxey, Isle of Man, used to drive mine pumps
The suspension wheel with rim-gearing at the Portland Basin Canal Warehouse
The norias of Hama on the Orontes River
Water wheel in Djambi, Sumatra, c. 1918
Parameters for measuring the head and flow rate of a water wheel

Modern hydroelectric dams can be viewed as the descendants of the water wheel, as they too take advantage of the movement of water downhill.

Nuclear power

Use of nuclear reactions to produce electricity.

The Leibstadt Nuclear Power Plant in Switzerland
The first light bulbs ever lit by electricity generated by nuclear power at EBR-1 at Argonne National Laboratory-West, December 20, 1951.
The launching ceremony of the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) January 1954. In 1958 it would become the first vessel to reach the North Pole.
The Calder Hall nuclear power station in the United Kingdom, the world's first commercial nuclear power station.
The town of Pripyat abandoned since 1986, with the Chernobyl plant and the Chernobyl New Safe Confinement arch in the distance.
Olkiluoto 3 under construction in 2009. It was the first EPR, a modernized PWR design, to start construction.
The nuclear fuel cycle begins when uranium is mined, enriched, and manufactured into nuclear fuel (1), which is delivered to a nuclear power plant. After use, the spent fuel is delivered to a reprocessing plant (2) or to a final repository (3). In nuclear reprocessing 95% of spent fuel can potentially be recycled to be returned to use in a power plant (4).
Proportions of the isotopes uranium-238 (blue) and uranium-235 (red) found in natural uranium and in enriched uranium for different applications. Light water reactors use 3-5% enriched uranium, while CANDU reactors work with natural uranium.
Typical composition of uranium dioxide fuel before and after approximately 3 years in the once-through nuclear fuel cycle of a LWR.
Activity of spent UOx fuel in comparison to the activity of natural uranium ore over time.
Dry cask storage vessels storing spent nuclear fuel assemblies
Nuclear waste flasks generated by the United States during the Cold War are stored underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. The facility is seen as a potential demonstration for storing spent fuel from civilian reactors.
Most waste packaging, small-scale experimental fuel recycling chemistry and radiopharmaceutical refinement is conducted within remote-handled hot cells.
Nuclear fuel assemblies being inspected before entering a pressurized water reactor in the United States.
The Multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator (MMRTG), used in several space missions such as the Curiosity Mars rover
Death rates from air pollution and accidents related to energy production, measured in deaths in the past per terawatt hours (TWh)
Following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the world's worst nuclear accident since 1986, 50,000 households were displaced after radiation leaked into the air, soil and sea. Radiation checks led to bans of some shipments of vegetables and fish.
Reactor decay heat as a fraction of full power after the reactor shutdown, using two different correlations. To remove the decay heat, reactors need cooling after the shutdown of the fission reactions. A loss of the ability to remove decay heat caused the Fukushima accident.
United States and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles, 1945–2006. The Megatons to Megawatts Program was the main driving force behind the sharp reduction in the quantity of nuclear weapons worldwide since the cold war ended.
The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61) receives fuel at sea (FAS) from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73).
The Ikata Nuclear Power Plant, a pressurized water reactor that cools by utilizing a secondary coolant heat exchanger with a large body of water, an alternative cooling approach to large cooling towers.
Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of electricity supply technologies, median values calculated by IPCC
A comparison of prices over time for energy from nuclear fission and from other sources. Over the presented time, thousands of wind turbines and similar were built on assembly lines in mass production resulting in an economy of scale.
Our World in Data notes that these costs are an effort to represent the global average. Which is driven by chinese forced labor practices in solar and wind,
   
 that manufactured, installed and exported the most globally,  
 bankrupting US and German solar industries, multiple times, over the time indicated.  In which, the manufacturing of panels were suggested to be 30% of solar costs in the largest production facility in the west, before labor costs were included, which they argue China do not pay, upon declaring its bankruptcy. While the 2 projects that drove average nuclear pricing upwards were 2 first of their kind AP1000s in the US/west. The organization recognises that the median cost of nuclear, the most exported and produced nuclear energy facility in the 2010s the 7 South Korean APR1400, remained "constant", including in export. No data on the 18 Chinese domestic nuclear, CPR1000 were included. LCOE is a measure of the average net present cost of electricity generation for a generating plant over its lifetime. As a metric, it remains controversial as the lifespan of units are not independent but manufacturer projections, not a demonstrated longevity.
Anti-nuclear protest near nuclear waste disposal centre at Gorleben in northern Germany
Schematic of the ITER tokamak under construction in France.
Net electrical generation by source and growth from 1980. In terms of energy generated between 1980 and 2010, the contribution from fission grew the fastest.
Electricity production in France, showing the shift to nuclear power. {{legend|#D55E00|thermofossil}}{{legend|#0072B2|hydroelectric}}{{legend|#F0E442|nuclear}}{{legend|#009E73|Other renewables}}
The rate of new reactor constructions essentially halted in the late 1980s. Increased capacity factor in existing reactors was primarily responsible for the continuing increase in electrical energy produced during this period.
Electricity generation trends in the top five fission-energy producing countries (US EIA data)

These plants supplied 2,586 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2019, equivalent to about 10% of global electricity generation, and were the second-largest low-carbon power source after hydroelectricity.

United States Bureau of Reclamation

Bureau of Reclamation regions
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The United States Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), and formerly the United States Reclamation Service, is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of the Interior, which oversees water resource management, specifically as it applies to the oversight and operation of the diversion, delivery, and storage projects that it has built throughout the western United States for irrigation, water supply, and attendant hydroelectric power generation.

Dam failure

Catastrophic type of structural failure characterized by the sudden, rapid, and uncontrolled release of impounded water or the likelihood of such an uncontrolled release.

The reservoir emptying through the failed Teton Dam
Ruins of the dam of Vega de Tera (Spain) after breaking in 1959.
International special sign for works and installations containing dangerous forces

Most dams have a section called a spillway or weir over or through which water flows, either intermittently or continuously, and some have hydroelectric power generation systems installed.

Three Gorges Dam

In his poem "Swimming" (1956), engraved on the 1954 Flood Memorial in Wuhan, Mao Zedong envisions "walls of stone" to be erected upstream.
Map of the location of the Three Gorges Dam and the most important cities along the Yangtze River
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Three Gorges Dam Francis turbine
Three Gorges Dam annual power output
Yangtze River flow rate comparing to the dam intake capacity
Satellite map showing areas flooded by the Three Gorges reservoir. Compare November 7, 2006 (above) with April 17, 1987 (below)
Flood mark on Yangtze river
Zigui County seat source water protection area in Maoping Town, a few kilometers upstream of the dam
Collecting garbage at the Dam's southeast corner
Water level and inflow during the 2020 China floods
Ship locks for river traffic to bypass the Three Gorges Dam, May 2004
The other end of Three Gorges Dam lock; note the bridge in the background
The shiplift, a kind of elevator, can lift vessels of up to 3,000 tonnes, at a fraction of the time to transit the staircase locks.
Longitudinal profile of upstream Yangtze River

The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric gravity dam that spans the Yangtze River by the town of Sandouping, in Yiling District, Yichang, Hubei province, central China, downstream of the Three Gorges.

Grand Coulee Dam

The dam site before construction, looking south
The east-side cofferdam after the west base was complete
Base of the dam in 1938
The dam after completion, with water moving into the spillway
Banks and Smith felling the last tree in the reservoir zone
Workers installing a penstock section
Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (seated left) and US President Dwight Eisenhower at the signing of the Columbia River Treaty, 1961
One of the new turbines in the Third Powerplant
Cross-section of the Pump-Generating Plant
Map of the Columbia Basin Project. Green denotes land irrigated by the project. Grand Coulee Dam near top-right
Pump-Generating Plant and Roosevelt Lake at bottom, feeder canal to Banks Lake at top
Grand Coulee Dam commemorative stamp, issued 1952

Grand Coulee Dam is a concrete gravity dam on the Columbia River in the U.S. state of Washington, built to produce hydroelectric power and provide irrigation water.

Electricity generation

Process of generating electric power from sources of primary energy.

Turbo generator
A comparison of prices over time for energy from nuclear fission and from other sources. Over the presented time, thousands of wind turbines and similar were built on assembly lines in mass production resulting in an economy of scale.
Our World in Data notes that these costs are an effort to represent the global average. Which is driven by chinese forced labor practices in solar and wind,
   
 that manufactured, installed and exported the most globally,  
 bankrupting US and German solar industries, multiple times, over the time indicated.  In which, the manufacturing of panels were suggested to be 30% of solar costs in the largest production facility in the west, before labor costs were included, which they argue China do not pay, upon declaring its bankruptcy. While the 2 projects that drove average nuclear pricing upwards were 2 first of their kind AP1000s in the US/west. The organization recognises that the median cost of nuclear, the most exported and produced nuclear energy facility in the 2010s the 7 South Korean APR1400, remained "constant", including in export. No data on the 18 Chinese domestic nuclear, CPR1000 were included. LCOE is a measure of the average net present cost of electricity generation for a generating plant over its lifetime. As a metric, it remains controversial as the lifespan of units are not independent but manufacturer projections, not a demonstrated longevity.
Dynamos and engine installed at Edison General Electric Company, New York 1895
Wind turbines usually provide electrical generation in conjunction with other methods of producing power.
Large dams, such as Hoover Dam in the United States, can provide large amounts of hydroelectric power. It has an installed capacity of 2.07 GW.
A large generator with the rotor removed
Large dams such as Three Gorges Dam in China can provide large amounts of hydroelectric power; it has a 22.5 GW capability.
Energy flow of power plant
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Today a variety of energy sources are used, such as coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, wind, and oil, as well as solar energy, tidal power, and geothermal sources.

Hoover Dam

Concrete arch-gravity dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River, on the border between the U.S. states of Nevada and Arizona.

River view of the future dam site, c. 1904
Sketch of the proposed dam site and reservoir, c. 1921
Hoover Dam architectural plans
Workers on a "Jumbo Rig"; used for drilling the Hoover Dam's tunnels
"Apache Indians employed as high-scalers on the construction of Hoover Dam." – NARA
General Superintendent Frank Crowe (right) with Bureau of Reclamation engineer Walker Young in 1935
Overview of dam mechanisms; diversion tunnels shown
Looking down at "high scalers" above the Colorado River
Columns of Hoover Dam being filled with concrete, February 1934 (looking upstream from the Nevada rim)
The upstream face of Hoover Dam slowly disappears as Lake Mead fills, May 1935 (looking downstream from the Arizona rim)
Oskar J. W. Hansen's memorial at the dam which reads in part "They died to make the desert bloom."
Tile floor designed by Allen Tupper True
Hansen's bas-relief on the Nevada elevator
Hoover Dam memorial star map floor, center area
Water is released from the jet-flow gates for testing in 1998.
Turbine/generator deck in power plant beneath Hoover Dam.
Decline in electricity generation since year 2000.
Water enters the Arizona spillway (left) during the 1983 floods. Lake Mead water level was 1,225.6 ft
View of Hoover Dam from Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge
The bypass in front of the dam
Mike O'Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge as visible from Hoover Dam
View upstream from Hoover Dam, October 2021, during the Southwestern North American megadrought
1933 Los Angeles Times political cartoon commenting on the attempts of Ickes to keep "Hoover" off the dam.
Tourists gather around one of the generators in the Nevada wing of the powerhouse to hear its operation explained, September 1940.
A worker stands by the {{convert|abbr=on|30|ft}} diameter Nevada penstock before its junction with another penstock that delivers water to a turbine.

Since about 1900, the Black Canyon and nearby Boulder Canyon had been investigated for their potential to support a dam that would control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power.

Flood control

Flood control methods are used to reduce or prevent the detrimental effects of flood waters.

A weir was built on the Humber River (Ontario) to prevent a recurrence of a catastrophic flood.
A water control structure gauge in a wetlands
Relationship between impervious surfaces and surface runoff
Flood Discharging at Xin'an River Dam during 2020 China floods
Flood blocking the road in Jerusalem

Waterway navigation and hydroelectric power are often impaired.

Penstock

Sluice or gate or intake structure that controls water flow, or an enclosed pipe that delivers water to hydro turbines and sewerage systems.

View of a penstock at Malakkappara
Penstocks at the Ohakuri Dam, New Zealand.
Hydroelectric turbine penstock cross-section.
The five penstocks of Shasta Dam, seen from above

Penstocks for hydroelectric installations are normally equipped with a gate system and a surge tank.