• Three Gorges. More than 100 thousand tons of water fall down in a second from a great height.

  • HPP Itaipu inspired the American composer Philip Glass to create a symphonic cantata of the same name.

  • Silodu, the third powerful hydroelectric power in the world, was put into operation in 2014.

  • HPP Guri is officially called Simon Bolivar hydroelectric power station. It covers the need for Venezuela's electricity by 65%.

  • HPP Tucurui can be seen in the1985 film «The Emerald Forest"» which tells about the relationships between Americans and the indigenous peoples of Brazil.

  • The Americans called HPP Grand Coulee the eighth wonder of the world, and the famous country singer Woody Guthrie dedicated a song the Grand Coulee Dam.

  • On August 17, 2009 a serious accident occurres at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP, which took the lives of 75 people. The station was restored in November 2014.

  • Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station is the only hydroelectric plant in Russia equipped with a ship lift.

  • Now power of Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station is enough to provide power to the city with a population of 500 000 people.

  • Dam Movuazen is used not only to generate electricity; it also helps to prevent flooding.

Power of Water: Ten Most Ambitious Hydroelectric Power Plants

People have been using the power of water for more than a century: once the wheel in the creek helped to get flour from grain, and now powerful hydroelectric plants provide millions of people on Earth with electricity. We are going tell you about the most famous of them.

In many countries, hydropower has priority; for example, Norway receives almost 100% of its electricity by hydropower plants, and Canada does 60%. On the one hand, this production does not pollute the atmosphere, on the other hand, the construction of dams and flooding areas deprive the usual fish spawning and bird nesting. There are also other negative factors. But the alternative has not yet been found.

1. Three Gorges. It is located in China, on the Yangtze River, near the city of Sandouping. No other hydropower plant in the world can match it in size: the height of the dam is 185 m, width is 2309 m, reservoir capacity is 39.3 billion cubic m., the project maximum capacity is 22.5 GW. The project took 16 years. According to experts, the construction had a negative impact on the environment: domestic, industrial and agricultural wastes accumulate in the reservoir, water stands roo long and blooms. Pressure of huge amount of water leads to landslides and erosion. Moreover, the dam and prevents the migration of fish. Three Gorges are also named as the cause extinction of rare species: lake dolphin baijiu, which inhabited the in the river until 2006.

2. Itaipu. This hydropower plant is located on the Parana River, on the territory of two countries - Paraguay and Brazil, so the resulting electricity is divided among them. The height of the dam is 196 m, the length is 7919 m., water capacity of the reservoir is 29 billion cubic meters. m., the power capacity is 14 GW. Part of the forests was destroyed during the construction of hydropower plants as wel as Guaira waterfall, which was more powerful than the Niagara falls, and the national park in the vicinity - they were devoured by he reservoir. Before sinking a lot of tourists come to Brazil to admire the waterfall for the last time, and 82 people died after falling from a broken hanging bridge.

3. Silodu. Built in China on the Jinsha River (upper reaches of the Yangtze River). The height of the dam is 285 m, capacity of the reservoir is 12.67 billion cubic meters, the power capacity is 12.6 GW. According to calculations of the sponsors, HPP will help to prevent adverse effects of Jinsha floods that have been usual. It is claimed that the rise of water level in the tributaries of Xining and Sisutszyao caused by the construction of the dam won't harm pandas living on their shores, as plantation of bamboo, which feed these animals, are located much higher.

4. Guri. Located in Venezuela, on the Caroni River. The height of the dam is 162 m, the length is 1300 m, the capacity of the reservoir is138 billion cubic meters, the power capacity is 10.2 GW. Construction of the dam has led to the destruction of nearly 260 000 hectares of unique forests inhabited by many rare species. In particular, these forests were the only place on Earth where you could see some species of Emberizidae. In 2009, the climatic phenomenon El Niño caused a prolonged drought, and the water level in the reservoir of the hydroelectric plant fell by ten meters, so that the country had to impose emergency power status. Now the lowering of the level is also observed.

5. Tucurui. Located in Brazil, on the Tocantins river. The height of the dam is 78 m, length is 11 km, water reservoir capacity is 45.5 billion cubic meters, the power capacity is 8.37 GW. After the construction of hydropower plant biodiversity in the river has significantly decreased, in particular due to the fact that the project didn't not provide fish passes, but also because of the acidification of the water, caused by the decomposition of submerged plants. Unfortunately, the forests around Tucurui also suffered because of the development of transport infrastructure and mass displacement of people. Up to 35 thousand people were forced to relocate, including Indian tribes.

6. Grand Coulee. Located on the Columbia River in theUnited States, the largest hydroelectric power station in the country. The height of the dam is 168 m, length is 1592 meters, reservoir capacity is 11 billion cubic meters, the power capacity is 6.8 GW. It is designed not only to generate electricity, but for irrigation of desert areas in the northwest. The lake was named in honor of President Franklin Roosevelt, during whose presidency the object was created. The main negative consequence of the construction of the dam was the reduce of salmon population in the river, because the station blocked the path of the fish to the ocean.

7. Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP. Located on the Yenisei River in Khakassia, Russia. The height of the dam is 245 m, length is 1074.4 m, reservoir capacity is 31.3 billion cubic meters. Construction of the station lasted in a record long time - almost forty years. The main consequence for the environment was the deterioration of water quality in the river. The fact is that the forest was not cut down, but flooded during the creation of this reservoir. Gradually the trees began to emerge and decompose. Until now, in some parts of the reservoir accumulations of drifting wood is being found, and the concentration of ammonium, nitrate and nitrite, phosphate, organic matter and phenols exceeds the limits in water exhibit.

8. Krasnoyarsk HPP. Located in Krasnoyarsk on the Yenisei River. The height of the dam is 128 m, length is 1072.5 m, the power capacity is 6 GW. The volume of the reservoir is 73.3 billion cubic meters.; often called the Krasnoyarsk Sea. It was the cause of increasing humidity and climate change in the region; in winter the river stopped to freeze on a stretch of about 300 km.

9. Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station. It is located on an artificial bay Sihva-ho in South Korea, in 40 kilometers to the southwest of Seoul. It's the world's largest tidal power plant. The length is 12.7 km, power capacity is 254 megawatts. The dam was originally built for the purpose of increasing the land area, but then the quality of water in a closed bay began to deteriorate because of urban waste water. A hole was made in the dam and the sea currents began to penetrate into the bay. This allowed the use of tidal energy and build a power plant, which was launched in 2011.

10. Movuazen Dam. Located in one of the most beautiful areas of Switzerland, between the mountains of the Grand Combin and La Ruinet, in the valley of Bagnes. The height of the dam is 250 m, length is 520 m along the crest. Water is supplied to the two hydropower plants from the reservoir of 211 500 000 cubic meters capacity: Fiona and Reid.

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