Hydropower development has continued its strong growth trend globally. The drivers for this include a general increase in demand not just for electricity, but also for particular qualities such as reliable, clean and affordable power. The simplicity of hydroelectric generators is to convert mechanical energy from a hydraulic turbine into electrical energy and then inject it into the power grid for transmission and distribution.

Climate related risk and rising shares of variable renewable power are driving adaptation in the hydropower industry. The industry has continued to adapt to manifestations of documented climate change. With hydro the determining energy output is of a rivers available head and water flow. Each project has different requirements in terms of hydraulics, head, geology and topography, which explain the need for “tailor-made” projects as there are no standard solutions.

From the energy point of view, the main component of a hydropower plant is the generating unit. The turbine and the generator convert hydraulic energy into motion, and then motion into electricity. The advantage of the electric fluid is that it can be efficiently and economically conveyed to remote consumption centres.

Balance of Plant consists of all the systems that make it possible for the power plant to operate and to connect the generating units to the power system. It includes low-, mediumand high-voltage electrical systems, emergency power supply, ancillary services and lifting systems comprises three main systems:

  • Electrical System.  It includes the electrical installation of the project, voltage generation equipment, main power transformers, switchyard, power supply for ancillary services, emergency power supply, direct current system, lighting, wiring, electrical conduits, protection systems against atmospheric discharges and grounding.
  • Ancillary Mechanical Systems.  These systems include the following: unit cooling, service water, high- and low-pressure compressed air, power plant drainage, unit drainage, insulating and lubricating oil treatment, power plant ventilation and air conditioning, fire detection and protection, drinking water, wastewaters, and oil/water separation.
  • Power System.  Analysing the power system involves assessing the impact the hydropower plant will have on the interconnection grid. This, in turns, requires power flow calculations, short-circuit studies, and electromagnetic transient and stability analyses.