Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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Week 5: Hydroelectricity


This week begins with a discussion of the nature of the hydro resource and its present contribution to world energy. This is followed by a summary of the basic science and an account of the development of water power, leading to a discussion of modern hydro turbine systems. The remaining sections are concerned with the problems and the potentialities of hydroelectricity.

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By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • discuss at a basic level the magnitude of the world’s hydro resource and its present contribution to world total primary energy consumption
  • describe at an introductory level the main features and the modes of operation of the principal types of water turbine
  • describe at an introductory level the principle of pumped storage plants and their role in an integrated electrical supply system
  • understand at an introductory level the environmental and social effects, beneficial and deleterious, of large-scale hydroelectricity, and the potentialities and problems of small-scale systems.

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