With the development of technology, man needed powerful sources of energy. These are the power stations that produce it from various sources. Each variety has its pluses and minuses, but one of the cheapest types are hydroelectric power stations. In them, the energy is produced by the falling water. These structures are erected on the rivers, blocking them by a dam. The cost of electricity generation is less than that of thermal power plants by about half.
True, it is not worthwhile to regard HPP as safe – large volumes of accumulated water can bring ecological changes in the surrounding area, and in the event of an accident – to large victims. Thus, as a result of the destruction of the dam of the Bansao HPP in 1975, more than 170,000 people died in China. One can recall a very close accident in time at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP …
The stations are distinguished for their pressure – high-, medium- and low-pressure, and also in power – powerful, medium and small stations. Different stations can also use resources. Hydropower plants can be dam and channel, tidal and derivational, pumped storage.
Although Russia is proud of its HPPs, the five largest stations are located in other countries. At us the biggest stations are located on the rivers Yenisei and Angara. The latter in general created a cascade of 7 hydroelectric power stations, their total capacity in 2012 will be more than 12 MW. We will tell below about the ten largest existing hydroelectric power stations of the planet.
The world’s largest hydroelectric power station is about to be built in China. It is located on the Yangtze River. The design capacity of the station is 22.4 GW. The station is located in Yichang County, Hubei Province. Having begun to build this large-scale project in 1992, China seemed to have continued the communist tradition of giant construction projects. The idea of erecting a dam in these lands was put forward as far back as 1918. The height of the constructed dam was 185 meters. The resulting reservoir is an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers. The erection of this station led to the relocation of more than 1.2 million people. Under the water were 2 cities and many villages. HPP not only generates electricity needed for China’s growing economy, but also regulates the Yangtze’s water regime. Previously, the floods of the river led to great cataclysms. In this part of the river, shipping has improved, and cargo turnover has increased tenfold!
This station is located in Brazil on the Parana River, 20 kilometers from the city of Foss do Iguaçu. The power of the station is 14 GW. The first work on designing the station and preparing for construction began in 1971, the first generators were launched in 1984, and the last ones – in 2007. The total length of the combined dam was more than 7 kilometers, and its height was 196 meters. To carry out the construction, a 150-meter canal was even cut in the rocks. The value of HPP is very high – it produces about 16% of electricity consumed by Brazil and 71% of Paraguay. Although the power of the “Three dams” and above, the total annual electricity volume of Itaipu produces more because of the more uniform hydrological regime of the Parana compared to the Yangtze.
Officially, this station bears the name of Simon Bolivar, although it used to be Raoul Leoni until 2000. The building is located in Venezuela, Bolivar state on the Caroni River. From here 100 kilometers to its confluence with Orinoco. The station’s capacity is 10.2 GW. Construction of Guria began in 1963, the last stage of construction was completed only in 1986. Since 2000, the reconstruction is under way here – turbines and components are being changed. The total length of the dam is 1300 meters, its height is 162 meters. Guri forms a reservoir with a length of 175 kilometers and a width of 48. It is located at an altitude of 272 meters above sea level. The value of the station for the country is great – it produces 82% of all electricity. Curiously, the walls of the second engine room are decorated with the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Deez.This makes it possible to reduce the psychological pressure on the workers of the responsible facility.
This power plant is located in the Brazilian county of Tukurui and is named after the town of the same name, located near the construction. Now it has moved downstream from the dam. The installed capacity of the station is 8.37 GW, it is provided by 24 generators. In 1970, a competition for the project was held, it was won by the Brazilian companies ENGEVIX and THEMAG. It was they who built the station here from 1976 to 1984. The length of the dam was 11 kilometers, and its height is 76 meters. The local spillway is unique, it was developed by a laboratory from Rio de Janeiro, and it has the greatest capacity in the world. In a second, up to 120,000 cubes of water can be dumped. The station is so famous that it was one of the characters in the 1985 film “Emerald Forest”.
The largest hydro power plant in North America is located on the Columbia River. It is the largest station of its kind in the United States, but it is only the tenth in the world for electricity production, yet it is the fifth in capacity. The construction of the station was completed in June 1942. The total volume of the reservoir was 11.9 cubic kilometers. This water is successfully used to irrigate desert areas in the north-west of the country. The reservoir allows to irrigate about 2000 km2 of agricultural areas. In the body of the dam was laid more than 9 million cubic meters of concrete, its length is 1,592 meters and a height of 168 meters. In total there are 33 turbines with a total capacity of 6.8 GW. Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP named after PSNeporozhny.
This hydroelectric power plant is the largest in Russia. Its capacity is 6.4 GW, but after the accident, it markedly decreased. In December 2010, the station is already operating at 2.56 GW, full recovery is planned by 2014. Located hydropower station on the Yenisei River, not far from Sayanogorsk. The name is directly connected with the Sayan Mountains and the nearby village of Shushenskoye, known as the place of exile of Lenin. Construction began in 1963, officially ending only in 2000. During the construction and operation, some problems with cracks and destruction of the water catchment facilities, temporarily resolved. The length of the local dam is 1074 meters, and its height is 245 meters. At its construction, so much concrete was used, that it would be enough to build a motorway from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. HPP is the basis of the Sayan production complex, which includes aluminum plants, coal and iron mines, light and food industry enterprises. In 2009, a major accident occurred at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP, as a result of which 75 people died, and a large amount of turbine oil got into the Yenisei.
This station is located on the Yenisei River, from here 40 kilometers to Krasnoyarsk, which gave it its name. The construction of the hydroelectric power station was carried out from 1956 to 1972. The length of the local dam is 1065 meters, and its height is 124 meters. It forms a reservoir area of about 2000 square kilometers. The station’s capacity is 6000 MW. The Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant consumes the largest part of the generated electricity, 85%. Serious mistakes were made in the design of the station. It was believed that the ice-free ice-hole would be 20 km long, and it turned out to be 10 times larger. This led to climate change and ecology. As a result, HPPs are often criticized, recalling, moreover, large areas of valuable flooded land and displaced people. Robert Burassa.
This station is located on the Canadian River La Grande. Initially it was named in honor of the river, but later it was renamed in honor of the Prime Minister of Quebec, who did much to implement this large-scale project. The capacity of the hydroelectric power station was 5.6 GW, 16 turbines were installed there. On the La Grande River in a sparsely populated area of northern Quebec built a whole complex of hydroelectric power stations.The length of the local dam is 2835 meters, and the height is 162 meters. The station began to be built in 1974, and ended – in 1981. The total cost of the project for 1987 was estimated at 3.8 billion dollars. The resulting reservoir covered an area of 2835 km2.
This derivation plant is installed on the Churchill River in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador. The station is installed on the site of the waterfall, which was drained after the diversion of the river. The whole complex, like the river itself with a waterfall, is named after the English premier Winston Churchill. The capacity of the hydroelectric power station at 5.43 GW is provided by 11 turbines. Here is the second largest in the world (after Robert-Burass) underground machine room. Construction began in 1967, and after 4 years it was completed. The resulting reservoir of 7 thousand km2 is formed not by a single dam, but by their entire derivational complex. As a result, the total length of the dam is about 64 kilometers. The longest dam is about 6 kilometers long. The existing project to develop the station by installing new dams is planning to increase the plant’s capacity to 6.42 GW.
Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Station.
The station bears the name of the 50th anniversary of the Great October Revolution. The structure is built on the Angara River, near the town of Bratsk, Irkutsk Region. The station is part of the Angarsk cascade, being the second stage after the Irkutsk hydroelectric power station. Construction began officially in 1954, ending in 1967. Construction became a symbol of the development of Siberia. The authorities called for the construction of the shock Komsomol – young specialists from all over the country went to work here. The total length of the concrete dam is 924 meters, and the height is 124 meters. The installed capacity is 4.5 GW. There are 18 turbines in the building of the HPP. Most of the electricity, about 75%, is consumed by the Bratsk Aluminum Smelter. The station supplies energy to hundreds of other enterprises in Siberia. It is the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Plant that is the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the country, its capacity is 57% on average. During the construction, the Bratsk water reservoir was formed. When it was filled, about 100 villages and not less than 70 already inhabited islands were flooded. In the course of large-scale resettlement, the population of 10-15 villages was often united into one new one. The largest settlement, Ust-Uda, in general was moved to 35 kilometers. This flood project received the popular name “Angarskaya Atlantida”, serving as the basis for Valentin Rasputin’s book “Farewell to the Mother”.