Why Site Selection for Hydroelectric Power Plant is Important?

In order to make the hydroelectric power plant economical, we have to consider some key points in the selection of a site for a hydroelectric power plant.

The key characteristics for the selection of the site for the hydroelectric power plant are that the site should accommodate a large catchment area, steep gradients for a good potential head, high average annual rainfall throughout the year, a suitable location for the building of storage or reservoir dams.

For the selection of the site for a hydroelectric power plant the geological, topographical, and meteorological conditions must all be considered and investigated.

Factors for Selection of Site for Hydroelectric Power Plant

Here are some of the key factors described below. These factors will be helpful in the selection of the site for a hydroelectric power plant.

1. Water Availability

A hydroelectric power plant utilizes the potential energy of the flowing water to convert it into mechanical energy and thereby converting the mechanical energy into electrical energy with help of a generator. Water is the main fuel for such plants. Hence, selecting hydroelectric power plants near the site with adequate water supply, the good head seems to be important and necessary.

2. Storage of Water

During the dry seasons, the availability of water in the rivers decreases significantly. So, in order to have a continuous supply of water during the dry seasons, dams and water reservoirs are constructed.

The study of the site’s geological and topographical conditions has to be done for the construction of such structures. The site under the selection of construction of hydroelectric plants should have a feasible geographical and geological condition.

3. Site Selection for Hydroelectric Power Plant According to the Availability of Water Head

As mentioned earlier, a hydroelectric power plant primarily utilizes the potential energy of the flowing water. The available water head is directly proportional to the potential energy. So, the more the head, more will be the potential energy available and the more will be the generation of electricity. The availability of water heads also has a considerable significance on the cost and economy of the plant. With a high water head, a given hydroelectric power plant can be constructed with higher generation capability and lower cost.

4. Distance from the Load Center

The load center is the location or the place where the electricity produced by the plants will be consumed. Hydroelectric power plants are generally constructed in places far away from the load centers. So, a high amount of cost is required to erect the transmission lines in order to transmit the power from these generating stations to the load centers. The route of these transmission lines must be selected in advance and wisely to reduce the transmission cost.

5. Accessibility of the Site

For transportation of the goods, manpower required for the construction and operation of the hydroelectric plant, the site should be accessible by road. The accessibility of the site will make the transportation of machinery and required equipment easy.

6. Pollution of Water Resource

The polluted water resource consists of various foreign particles. The foreign particles in the water will corrode the hydroelectric power plant structure such as the blades of the turbine. So, the site selection of the hydroelectric power plant must be done where there is the availability of good quality water.

7. Sedimentation

The flowing water of the river carries fine sand, clay, or other material (also called silt). This silt gets deposited in the reservoir and as time progresses, more and more silt deposition occurs, which ultimately reduces the reservoir’s storage capacity. Also, these particles strike with the blades of the turbine thereby corroding the blades.

So, while selecting a site for the hydropower plants effect of sedimentation in that area should also be considered.

8. Large Catchment Area

For a continuous supply of water during dry seasons, dams and reservoirs are constructed in hydroelectric power plants. The catchment area of the reservoir should be large enough so that the water level in the reservoir will not fall below the minimum level during the dry season.

9. Site Selection for Hydroelectric Power Plant According to the  Availability of Land

A large area of land is required for the construction of the hydroelectric power plants and build its constituent structures such as a powerhouse etc. For economic consideration, the land should be available at a cheap cost and should have a proper geological condition in order to withstand the weight of the structures and machinery of the power plants.