In details

Hydroelectric plants


Engineers consider water behavior when planning hydroelectric plants.

These plants harness the hydraulic potential of a river, using natural gaps such as waterfalls, or artificial, produced by deviating from the original course of the river.

In them, the strength of the river's backwaters is used for the production of electricity. These plants are responsible for more than 70% of all electricity generated in the country and about 20% of the world's electricity. In addition, it is non-polluting, renewable, and allows to control the flow of rivers through dams, minimizing the effects of floods.

Do you know how a hydroelectric dam works?

Initially a large amount of water is dammed in a huge tank whose base is much wider than the top. The plants are built below the level of the dams, as the greater the depth, the greater the pressure exerted by the water. When the floodgates are opened, water comes out under great pressure. Under the floodgates are placed the turbines, large machines whose main part is a huge wheel. The falling water causes the wheels to spin, this movement generates electricity that is distributed to the cities.

What are the disadvantages of building a hydroelectric plant?

The disadvantages of building a hydroelectric plant are:
- Expropriation of productive lands by flooding;
- environmental impacts (fauna and flora) - loss of terrestrial vegetation and fauna;
- social impacts (relocation and expropriation of residents);
- interference with fish migration;
- changes in river fauna; and
- loss of historical and cultural inheritance, changes in economic activities and traditional land uses.

What are the environmental impacts on the construction of a plant?

To build dams and power plants requires flooding a huge area to form the lake, and often moving along the path that the river takes. The lake, also called a reservoir, is formed by damming the waters of the river through the construction of a dam. This alteration of the environment disturbs the life of the animals and plants of the region, besides radically changing the landscape, often destroying natural beauty. People who live nearby and have to move because of flooding are also harmed.


Itaipu Hydroelectric Power Plant