What is a Hydroelectric Power Plant? History, Hydroelectric Plants in India

Hydroelectric power plant

Hydroelectric Power plant Introduction

Hydroelectric Power Plant :- As the name suggests hydro means water and electric means electricity, so hydroelectric means using the energy of water to generate electricity. The energy of water is used to produce electricity with the help of a hydroelectric power plant. The energy of moving water is not something modern-day idea it has been already known to humankind. Moving water had numerous benefits such as grinding, water sewage systems, clean drinking system, etc. In today’s topic, we will discuss what is a hydroelectric power plant, its history, It’s working, and all Hydroelectric Power Plant in India.

history of Hydroelectric powerplants

History of Hydroelectric Power Plant

The use of hydro energy increased due to new innovative ideas and technologies in the 18th century. Since the electricity demand was growing during the Industrial revolution so new ideas and foundations started happening in that era.

  • After the industrial revolution in 1878, the world’s first hydroelectric power scheme was developed in England but it dint served any commercial or industrial purpose.
  • The first Water-powered plant started operating on Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin on September 30, 1882. Moreover, this hydroelectric power plant station had an output of 12.5 kW.
  • In the years 1886-1889, Canada and the United States had many hydroelectric power stations built up. The United States alone had 200 hydroelectric power stations.
  • In the early 19th century the US had 40% of its power production with the help of hydroelectric power stations.
  • In 1936 world’s largest hydroelectric power station Hoover Dam was made operational with a power output of more than 13MW.
  • In 1942 Grand Coulee Dam surpassed the Hoover dam by producing power up to 6,809MW
  • In 1984 Itaipu Dam produced 14GW power output.

White coal was the name given to hydropower due to its huge significance at the industrial level. In the 20th Century, Hydroelectric power stations started to gloom around the world. China due to its growing need for energy built the Three Gorges Dam in 2008. This dam is the world’s largest dam in terms of installed capacity. Some countries tend to rely on almost all of their electricity generation only on hydroelectric power plants. Many countries’ hydroelectricity supplies are over 85% of their electricity.

Hydroelectric power plant

How Hydroelectric power plant Works

Hydroelectric Power Plant are fuelled by water and therefore can only be functional at or near a water source In general, the faster the water is or the higher the elevation of the water is, the more electricity it produces.

  • Most plants use water diverted from natural sources like waterfalls, rapids, or dams to generate electricity.
  • Water at a higher level is collected and then flows through a large pipe called a penstock to a lower level, changing water mechanical energy into kinetic energy.
  • Afterward, this high speed of water is carried to a turbine waterwheel and the water pressure increases as water flows down the penstock.
  • It is through this high speed of water and pressure that spins the turbine is connected to the generator.
  • The rotor is attached to large electromagnets. As the generator spins which causes the spinning of magnets a flow of electrons is created inside and electricity is produced.
  • Electricity is stepped up by a voltage through transformers and sent across transmission lines.
  • Finally, after the utilization of moving water in the station it exits the station to the tailrace where it rejoins the mainstream of the river again to continue the cycle.
Hydroelectric power plant

Different Ways to Generate Electricity

One way of using water for electricity is by dams or storage systems. Potential energy is converted to kinetic energy and turns turbines and operates the generator to produce power.

With the help of pumped storage facilities, electricity is produced and distributed in demanded regions.

By Run of the river: Here no reservoir is available only running water force applies pressure on the turbine to generate electricity.

Finally, there is a tidal power station that runs with the power of the tides of oceans. These types of stations generate power during demanding times.


List of Hydroelectric Power Plants in India

India had its first hydropower station of 4.5MW established in 1897 but with the rapid development around the country, there are now 197 hydropower plants with an overall load factor of 60%.

Keystone dam in USA
The Keystone Dam in Oklahoma

But looking the potential of water-based power plants is about 125,570 MW, which has ranked India 4th on a global scale. If we look at the report of march 2018 installed hydro capacity reached above 45,000MW. Besides other hydro generators adding up to 4,486MW capacity. We can conclude that India is heavily dependent on hydropower in terms of generating electricity. In India, there are 197 hydroelectric power plants and India ranks 5 in the world for potential hydropower capacity, and some of the plants are listed below:

  • Tehri Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Dehar Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Nathpa Jhakri Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Kalindi Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Nagarjunasagar Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Srisailam Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Machkund Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Salal Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Uri Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Subarnarekha Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Sardar Sarovar Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Baira-Siul Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Bhakra Nangal Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Sharavathi Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Shivanasamudra Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Idukki Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Bansagar Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Indira Sagar Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Rihand Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Koyna Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Baspa-II Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Electric Power Plant
  • Pandoh Dam
  • Dulhasti
  • Chamera-I
  • Chamera-II
  • Pong
  • Loktak Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Balimela Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Hirakud Hydro Electric Power plant
  • Rangit Hydroelectric Power plant
  • Teesta Hydro Electric Power plant


Hydroelectric development is currently lower than its capacity around the world. Only 29% of the actual production in Europe is hydropower, which means 71% of the capacity is hydropower. However, some countries, such as Switzerland, utilize 88% of their hydropower potential. Hydropower is a renewable source of electricity and should be considered if we want to ensure the future of our planet.

  • To visit the official website of the Indian Ministry of Power- Click Here
  • To visit the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy- Click Here

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