Principle & How it works
Hydroelectric power is the energy generated from
flowing water in rivers, or from man-made installations
where water flows from a high-level reservoir down
through a tunnel and away from the dam.
Turbines placed within the flow of water extract its
kinetic energy and convert it to mechanical energy. The
turbines drive a generator that converts the mechanical
energy into electrical energy. The amount of
hydroelectric power that can be generated is related to
the water flow and the vertical distance through which
the water has fallen.
In the smallest hydroelectric schemes, the head of water
can be a few meters; in larger schemes, the power
station that houses the turbines is often hundreds of
meters below the reservoir.
There are two main types of hydroelectric schemes,
storage schemes and run-of-river schemes. In storage
schemes, a dam impounds water in a reservoir that feeds
the turbine and generator, usually located within the
dam itself. Run-of-river schemes utilize the natural
flow of a river.
Hydroelectricity requires no fuel and is reliable in
its operation. The generated energy can be relatively
easily controlled. The turbine technology is mature and
therefore efficient. The plants have long lifetimes as
with most renewable energy.
The main disadvantage, aside from the high capital
cost, is the problems caused because of the high land
use in usually eco-sensitive areas as well as the
problems to the local populations near planned
hydroelectric schemes. Finding a suitable site can be
difficult and is usually met with by a lot of local
Where it's working (Syria, Abroad)
Water power was used for centuries to power machinery,
for example for grinding corn or in mills and factories,
but was largely replaced by steam power in the
Industrial Revolution. Water power is now mainly used to
generate electrical energy.
The Three Gorges Dam project in Hubei, China, is the
world's largest hydroelectric generating system. It
includes 2 generating stations. They are the Three
Gorges Dam (22,500 MW when completed) and Gezhouba Dam
(3,115MW). The total generating capacity of this complex
is currently at 21,515 MW. The whole project is planned
to be completed in 2011. The total generating capacity
will be 25,615 MW by then.
The Jinsha River (the upper stream of Yangtze River)
complex is the largest hydroelectric generating system
currently under construction. It has 3 phases. The total
capacity of the complex is 68,630 MW. The James Bay
Project in Quebec, Canada, is the world's second largest
hydroelectric generating system. The nine generating
stations of the complex have a total generating capacity
of 16,527 MW.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
Nations carried out studies that strengthen the
importance of managing Syria’s water resources. These
resources include surface water & ground water . The
surface water in Syria consist of a number of small
rivers and lakes in the western part of the country (Quiak,
Efrean,El Sin, El Kebir El Shamali, El Kebrir El Janubi,
Orantes, Barada, Al Awaj, and Yarmuk rivers and Qatene
Lake) and the large Euphrates River in the east with the
Al Khabour and Al Baleakh tributaries and Al Assad lake.
In the far east there is the Dajle river which is also a
cross boundary river.
The most important hydroelectric power stations in the
country are illustrated in the next table:
Installed capacity [MW]
Besides large-scale hydro power plants, micro hydro
power plants must be taken into consideration especially
for isolated applications in the coastal areas of Syria.
Although unexplored, they are likely to be available in
the mountainous regions with good precipitation.
Future Development & integration
Unfortunately there is little room for the future
development of large scale hydroelectric power stations
in many parts of the developed world.
Hydroelectricity does offer an age-old storage solution
that can be integrated with other renewable energy
technologies. Pumped storage incorporates two
reservoirs. At times of excess renewable energy output
due to low demand, generally at night, electricity is
used to pump water from the lower to the upper basin.
This water is then released to create power at a time
when demand is high. As well as offering storage
solutions, pumped storage provides a rapid supply of
electricity in response.
Site Constraints inc. Local Factors &
Several studies have been prepared to assess the
potential of constructing hydroelectric power plants.
The following table includes the most important
suggested hydroelectric stations.
No. of stations
per year [GWH]