Everything About Hydro Power Energy Production

People have been using hydro energy for centuries although the technologies used are always changing as a result of the need for optimum productivity. Humans initially used the river current energy to spin wheels that processed energy and clothing and it has grown to become a source of electricity all over the world.

At present, 30% to 40% of all the renewable energy produced in the UK is from hydropower and it rises to 90% when it comes to the global scale. 17% of the world’s energy supplied is hydropower renewable energy and the numbers are expected to rise due to the high demand for clean and renewable energy.

Why Energy?

The reason why we measure hydropower energy production, not power production, is the fact that it is possible to sell energy but not power. People will mostly demand a higher power output from a hydro system, which is difficult to value in terms of money. You get paid for your electricity in terms of kilowatts-hour, meaning energy is the crucial factor, not power. It is, therefore, the work of hydropower engineering companies to ensure optimum energy production for every hydropower project. The engineers can only achieve maximum energy production by choosing turbines that make the best use of water resources.

Countries are nowadays reconsidering old dams whose energy production is not at its optimum due to design issues. Replacing old turbine technology with modern technology that allows the best use of the water resource will result in higher energy production using the same resources. Hallidays International hydropower energy consultancy helps organisations to maintain optimum levels of efficiency through the use of modern technological options, mostly if they have not invested much in in-house expertise.

Special software is needed to estimate the energy production capability of a hydropower system, but you can estimate the same using the capacity factor. The capacity factor is obtained by dividing the annual energy production of a system with the theoretical maximum you would get if the system operated at its maximum day and night. For a UK site with an optimal performing turbine and a maximum flow rate of Qmea, plus a HOF of Q95, the capacity factor is approximately 0.5.

Calculating Annual Energy Production

The calculation of AEP is only possible if you have the figures for the maximum power output and the capacity factor. You get the annual energy production from multiplying power output by the number of hours in a year and the capacity factor.

For example, for a site with a maximum power output of 49.7 kW, the Annual Hydro Energy Production is calculated as follows:

AEP=49.7(kW) X 8760(h) X 0.5 =217,686(kWh).

One way of optimising energy generation is by keeping the inlet screen without debris. Maintaining a clear inlet screen using the available technologies is one way of maintaining a maximum system head for maximum energy production. You can hire the services of a reputable hydropower company like Hallidays Hydropower for innovative schemes that are geared towards energy production optimisation.