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taixyz1992



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Join date : 2010-10-10

PostSubject: Hydroelectricity   Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:50 am

Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, and has a considerably lower output level of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) than fossil fuel powered energy plants. Worldwide, an installed capacity of 777 GWe supplied 2998 TWh of hydroelectricity in 2006.[1] This was approximately 20% of the world's electricity, and accounted for about 88% of electricity from renewable sources.[2]
Hydropower has been used since ancient times to grind flour and perform others tasks. In the mid-1770s, a French engineer Bernard Forest de BĂ©lidor published Architecture Hydraulique which described vertical- and horizontal-axis hydraulic machines. By the late 19th century, the electrical generator was developed and could now be coupled with hydraulics.[3][4] The growing demand for the Industrial Revolution would drive development as well.[5] In 1878, the world's first house to be powered with hydroelectricity was Cragside in Northumberland, England. The old Schoelkopf Power Station No. 1 near Niagara Falls in the U.S. side began to produce electricity in 1881. The first Edison hydroelectric power plant - the Vulcan Street Plant - began operating September 30, 1882, in Appleton, Wisconsin, with an output of about 12.5 kilowatts.[6] By 1886 there was about 45 hydroelectric power plants in the U.S. and Canada. By 1889, there were 200 in the U.S.[3]
At the beginning of the 20th century, a large number of small hydroelectric power plants were being constructed by commercial companies in the mountains that surrounded metropolitan areas. By 1920 as 40% of the power produced in the United States was hydroelectric, the Federal Power Act was enacted into law. The Act created the Federal Power Commission who's main purpose was to regulate hydroelectric power plants on federal land and water. As the power plants became larger, their associated dams developed additional purposes to include flood control, irrigation and navigation. Federal funding became necessary for large-scale development and federally owned corporations like the Tennessee Valley Authority (1933) and the Bonneville Power Administration (1937) were created.[5] Additionally, the Bureau of Reclamation which had began a series of western U.S. irrigation projects in the early 20th century was now constructing large hydroelectric projects such as the 1928 Boulder Canyon Project Act.[7] The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was also involved in hydroelectric development, completing the Bonneville Dam in 1937 and being recognized by the Flood Control Act of 1936 as the premier federal flood control agency.[8]

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