Different types of plants

The main concept hydroelectric plants are based on is to transform the potential energy of resting mass of water and/or the kinetic energy of a water current into mechanic energy. Subsequently this energy will be converted into electric energy. Hydroelectric plants are subdivided into: big hydroelectric plants (or simply hydroelectric plants) and minor hydroelectric plants (or mini-hydroelectric plants). This subdivision depends on the power installed inside the plant and can take 10 MW as a reference value (actually in Italy minor hydroelectric refers to a maximum power of 3 MW).
This subdivision is usually reflected on different types of plants: while large hydroelectric plants usually require wide surfaces to be submerged, with a significant environmental and social impact, small hydroelectric plants perfectly integrate with the local ecosystem (it directly exploits the river current).
Hydroelectric power plants are also marked by great flexibility of use. Thanks to the modern automation systems, a few minutes are enough to make the power plant pass from the stand-by to the full power state. Thanks to this peculiarity, hydroelectric power plants are faster than thermoelectric power plants in increasing their production of electric energy during peak consumption hours.
Therefore, the hydroelectric production process is convenient not only from the economic and environmental viewpoint, but also from the viewpoint of operating efficiency.
Hydroelectric plants can also be defined according to the type of plant, i.e. regulated flow plants or flowing water.

 

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