With the development of technology, man needed powerful sources of energy. The cost of generating electricity is about half that of thermal power plants.
However, one should not consider hydroelectric power plants safe - large volumes of accumulated water can bring environmental changes in the surrounding area, and in the event of an accident - to large casualties. Thus, as a result of the destruction of the Bancao dam in 1975, more than 170 thousand people died in China. We can recall the accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric station, which is much closer to us in time ...
Stations are distinguished by their pressure - high-, medium- and low-pressure, as well as by power - powerful, medium and small stations. Stations can use resources in different ways. HPPs can be dam and channel, tidal and derivational, pumped storage.
Although it is customary in Russia to be proud of its hydroelectric power plants, the five largest stations are located in other countries. Our largest stations are located on the Yenisei and Angara rivers. At the latter, a whole cascade of 7 hydroelectric power plants has been created, their total capacity in 2012 will be more than 12 MW. We will tell below about the ten largest existing hydroelectric power plants on the planet.
Three Gorges. The construction of the world's largest hydroelectric power station is nearing completion in China. It is located on the Yangtze River. The design capacity of the station is 22.4 GW. The station is located in Yichang County, Hubei Province. Having started building this large-scale project back in 1992, China seemed to continue the communist tradition of giant construction projects. The idea of erecting a dam in these lands was put forward back in 1918. The height of the dam was 185 meters. The resulting reservoir covers an area of more than 1000 square kilometers. The construction of this station has resulted in the displacement of over 1.2 million people. 2 cities and many villages were under water. The hydropower plant not only generates the electricity needed for China's growing economy, but also regulates the Yangtze's water regime. Previously, river floods led to major cataclysms. In this part of the river, navigation has also improved, the turnover of goods has increased tenfold!
Itaipu. This station is located in Brazil on the Parana River, 20 kilometers from the city of Foss do Iguacu. The plant's capacity is 14 GW. The first plant design and preparation work began in 1971, the first generators were launched in 1984 and the last ones in 2007. The total length of the combined dam was more than 7 kilometers and its height is 196 meters. To carry out the construction, a 150-meter canal was even cut through the rocks. The importance of the hydroelectric power station is very high - it generates about 16% of electricity consumed by Brazil and 71% - Paraguay. Although the capacity of the Three Dams is higher, Itaipu's total annual electricity generation is higher due to the more even hydrological regime of Parana compared to the Yangtze.
Guri. Officially, this station bears the name of Simon Bolivar, although earlier it was named after Raul Leoni until 2000. The building is located in Venezuela, in the state of Bolivar on the Caroni River. From here 100 kilometers to its confluence with Orinoco. The plant's capacity is 10.2 GW. The construction of Guria began in 1963, the last stage of construction was completed only in 1986. Since 2000, reconstruction has been underway here - turbines and components are being changed. The total length of the dam is 1300 meters, its height is 162 meters. Guri forms a reservoir 175 kilometers long and 48 meters wide. It is located at an altitude of 272 meters above sea level. The importance of the station for the country is great - 82% of all electricity is produced here. Curiously, the walls of the second turbine room are decorated by the Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez. This makes it possible to reduce the psychological pressure on the employees of the responsible facility.
Tukurui. This hydroelectric power plant is located in the Brazilian county of Tucurui and is named after the city of the same name, located near the construction. Now he has migrated downstream of the dam. The installed capacity of the station is 8.37 GW, it is provided by 24 generators. In 1970, a competition was held for the implementation of the project, won by the Brazilian companies ENGEVIX and THEMAG. It was they who, from 1976 to 1984, built the station here. The dam was 11 kilometers long and 76 meters high. The local spillway is unique, developed by a laboratory in Rio de Janeiro, and has the largest throughput in the world. Up to 120 thousand cubic meters of water can be discharged per second. The station is so famous that it was one of the characters in the 1985 film "Emerald Forest".
Grand Coulee. The largest hydroelectric power station in North America is located on the Columbia River. It is the largest plant of its kind in the United States, but globally it is only tenth in terms of electricity production, while being the fifth in terms of capacity. The construction of the station was completed in June 1942. The total volume of the reservoir was 11.9 cubic kilometers. This water is successfully used to irrigate desert areas in the northwest of the country. The reservoir allows irrigation of about 2,000 km2 of agricultural land. More than 9 million cubic meters of concrete were laid in the body of the dam, its length is 1592 meters and a height of 168 meters. In total, there are 33 turbines with a total capacity of 6.8 GW.
Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP named after P.S. Neporozhny. This hydroelectric power station is the largest in Russia. Its capacity is 6.4 GW, but after the accident it has significantly decreased. In December 2010, the station is already operating at 2.56 GW, full restoration is planned by 2014. The hydroelectric power station is located on the Yenisei River, not far from Sayanogorsk. The name is directly related to the Sayan Mountains and the nearby village of Shushenskoye, known as the place of Lenin's exile. Construction began in 1963 and was officially completed only in 2000. During construction and operation, some problems with cracks and destruction of drainage structures appeared, which were temporarily resolved. The length of the local dam is 1,074 meters, and its height is 245 meters. During its construction, so much concrete was used that it would be enough for the construction of a highway from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok. The hydroelectric power station is the backbone of the Sayan industrial complex, which includes aluminum plants, coal and iron mines, light and food industries. In 2009, a major accident occurred at the Sayano-Shushenskaya HPP, as a result of which 75 people died, and a large amount of turbine oil got into the Yenisei.
Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station. This station is located on the Yenisei River, 40 kilometers from here to Krasnoyarsk, which gave it its name. The construction of the hydroelectric power station was carried out from 1956 to 1972. The length of the local dam is 1065 meters, and its height is 124 meters. It forms a reservoir with an area of about 2,000 square kilometers. The station's capacity is 6,000 MW. Most of the generated electricity, 85%, is consumed by the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant. Serious mistakes were made in the design of the station. It was believed that the ice hole would be 20 kilometers long, but it turned out to be 10 times larger. This has led to climate and environmental changes. As a result, hydroelectric power plants are often criticized, recalling, moreover, large areas of valuable flooded land and displaced people.
Robert-Bourassa. This station is located on the Canadian river La Grande. It was originally named after the river, but was later renamed in honor of the Prime Minister of Quebec, who did much to implement this large-scale project. The capacity of the hydroelectric power station was 5.6 GW, 16 turbines were installed here. A whole complex of hydroelectric power plants has been built on the La Grande River in the sparsely populated areas of northern Quebec. The length of the local dam is 2835 meters, and the height is 162 meters. Construction of the station began in 1974 and ended in 1981. The total cost of the project for 1987 was estimated at $ 3.8 billion. The resulting reservoir covered an area of 2835 km2.
Churchill Falls. This diversion hydroelectric power station is installed on the Churchill River in the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador. The station was installed on the site of the waterfall, which was drained after the diversion of the river. The entire complex, like the river itself with the waterfall, is named after the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The hydroelectric power station capacity of 5.43 GW is provided by 11 turbines. Here is the second largest in the world (after Robert-Bourassa) underground machine room. Construction began in 1967, and after 4 years it was completed. The resulting reservoir of 7 thousand km2 was formed not by one dam, but by their whole derivation complex. As a result, the total length of the dam is about 64 kilometers. The longest dam is about 6 kilometers long. The existing plant development project by installing new dams plans to increase the plant's capacity to 6.42 GW.
Bratsk hydroelectric power station. The station bears the name of the 50th anniversary of the Great October Revolution. The facility was built on the Angara River, not far from the town of Bratsk, Irkutsk Region. The station is part of the Angarsk cascade, being the second stage after the Irkutsk hydroelectric power station. Construction officially began in 1954 and ended in 1967. Construction has become a symbol of the development of Siberia. The authorities called for the construction of the shock Komsomol - young specialists from all over the country came to work here. The total length of the concrete dam is 924 meters and the height is 124 meters. The installed capacity is 4.5 GW. The hydroelectric power station houses 18 turbines. Most of the electricity, about 75%, is consumed by the Bratsk Aluminum Smelter. The station supplies energy to hundreds of other enterprises in Siberia. It is the Bratsk hydroelectric power station that is the largest producer of hydropower in the country, its capacity is used on average by 57%. During the construction, the Bratsk reservoir was formed. When it was filled, about 100 villages and at least 70 already inhabited islands were flooded. In the course of large-scale resettlement, the population of 10-15 villages was often combined into one new one. The largest settlement, Ust-Uda, was generally moved 35 kilometers. This flooding project received the popular name "Angarsk Atlantis", serving as the basis for Valentin Rasputin's book "Farewell to Matera".