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Hydropower is power derived from the energy of falling water and running water, which may be harnessed for useful purposes. Since ancient times, hydropower has been used for irrigation and the operation of various mechanical devices, such as watermills, sawmills, textile mills, dock cranes, domestic lifts, power houses and paint making.

There are three main types of hydropower schemes

  • Storage schemes - where a dam impounds water in a reservoir that feeds the turbine and generator.
  • Pumped storage schemes - which incorporate two reservoirs. At times of low demand, generally at night, electricity is used to pump water from the lower to the upper reservoir. This is released through turbines to generate electricity when demand is high.
  • Run of river schemes - use the natural flow of a river and divert water to a remote powerhouse containing the turbine and generator to generate electricity.

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