Energy of Moving Water - Switch Energy Project

Energy of Moving Water Student Guide







Energy of Moving Water


What Is Energy?

Energy makes change; it does things for us. It moves cars along the road and boats on the water. We use it to bake cakes in the oven and keep ice frozen in the freezer. It plays our favorite songs on the radio and lights our homes. Energy helps our bodies grow and allows our minds to think. Scientists define energy as the ability to do work or the ability to make a change. Energy is found in different forms, such as light, heat, sound, and motion. There are many forms of energy, but they can all be put into two categories: potential and kinetic. Potential Energy

Potential energy is stored energy or the energy of position. Forms

of potential energy include: ƒChemical ƒ energy is energy that is stored in the bonds of atoms and molecules that holds these particles together. Biomass, petroleum, natural gas, and propane are examples of stored chemical energy.

Potential and Kinetic Potential KineticEnergy Energy Potential Energy

Kinetic Energy


ƒNuclear ƒ energy is energy stored in the nucleus of an atom. The energy can be released when nuclei are combined (fusion) or split apart (fission). In both fission and fusion, the mass is converted into energy. ƒStored ƒ mechanical energy is energy stored in objects by the application of a force. Compressed springs and stretched rubber bands are examples of stored mechanical energy. ƒƒGravitational potential energy. A rock on top of a hill contains potential energy because of its position. If a force pushes the rock, it rolls down the hill because of the force of gravity. The potential energy is converted into kinetic energy until it reaches the bottom of the hill and stops. The water in a reservoir behind a hydropower dam is another example of potential energy. The stored energy in the reservoir is converted into kinetic energy (motion) as the water flows down a large pipe called a penstock and spins a turbine. The turbine spins a shaft inside the generator, where magnets and coils of wire convert the motion energy into electrical energy through a phenomenon called electromagnetism. This electricity is transmitted over power lines to consumers who use it to perform many tasks.

Kinetic Energy

Kinetic energy is energy in motion; it is the motion of electromagnetic and radio waves, electrons, atoms, molecules, substances, and objects. Forms of kinetic energy include: ƒƒElectrical energy is the movement of electrons. The movement of electrons in a wire is called electricity. Lightning and static electricity are other examples of electrical energy. ƒƒRadiant energy is electromagnetic energy that travels in waves. Radiant energy includes visible light, x-rays, gamma rays, and radio waves. Light is one type of radiant energy. Energy from the sun (solar energy) is an example of radiant energy.

Energy Transformations in a Hydropower Dam RESERVOIR RESERVOIR








ƒƒThermal energy is the internal energy of substances; it is the vibration and movement of the atoms and molecules within substances. The faster the atoms and molecules move around, the more thermal energy in a substance, and the hotter it gets. Geothermal energy is an example of thermal energy. Thermal energy is sometimes called heat. ƒƒSound is the movement of energy through substances in longitudinal (compression/rarefaction) waves. Sound is produced when a force causes an object or substance to vibrate; the energy is transferred through the substance in a longitudinal wave. ƒƒMotion is the movement of objects and substances from one place to another. Objects and substances move when an unbalanced force is acting on them according to Newton’s Laws of Motion. A river flowing or breeze blowing are examples of motion energy.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Conservation of Energy Your parents may tell you to conserve energy. “Turn out the lights,” they might say. But to scientists, conservation of energy means something quite different. The Law of Conservation of Energy is not about saving energy. The law states that energy is neither created nor destroyed. When we consume energy, it doesn’t disappear; we change it from one form into other forms. Energy can change form, but the total quantity of energy in the universe remains the same. A car engine, for example, burns gasoline, converting the chemical energy in the gasoline into useful motion or mechanical energy. Some of the energy is also converted into light, sound, and heat. Solar cells convert radiant energy into electrical energy. Oldfashioned windmills changed kinetic energy in the wind into motion energy to grind grain.

Energy Efficiency Energy efficiency is the amount of useful energy produced by a system compared to the amount of energy put in. A perfect energyefficient machine would convert all of the input energy into useful work. This is nearly impossible to do! Converting one form of energy into another form always involves a loss of usable energy. This is called a conversion loss. These losses are usually in the form of heat, or thermal energy. This ‘waste heat’ spreads out quickly into the surroundings and is very difficult to recapture. A typical coal-fired power plant converts about 35 percent of the energy in the coal into electricity. The rest of the energy is lost as heat. A hydropower plant, on the other hand, converts about 90 percent of the energy in the water flowing through the system into electricity. Most transformations are not very efficient. The human body is a good example. Your body is like a machine, and the fuel for your machine is food. The typical body is about fifteen percent efficient when converting food into useful work such as moving, thinking, and controlling body processes. The rest is lost as heat. The efficiency of a typical gasoline powered car is about 15-25 percent.

Energy EnergyTransformations Transformations









Efficiency of of aa Thermal Thermal Power Efficiency Power Plant Plant Most thermal power plants are about 35 percent efficient. Of the 100 units of energy that go into a plant, 65 units are lost as one form of energy is converted to other forms. The remaining 35 units of energy leave the plant to do usable work. ELECTRICITY TRANSMISSION



100 units of energy go in


















35 units of energy come out

Fuel Sources



Natural Gas



How a Thermal Power Plant Works 1. Fuel is fed into a boiler, where it is burned (except for uranium which is fissioned) to release thermal energy. 2. Water is piped into the boiler and heated, turning it into steam. 3. The steam travels at high pressure through a steam line. 4. The high pressure steam turns a turbine, which spins a shaft. 5. Inside the generator, the shaft spins a ring of magnets inside coils of copper wire. This creates an electric field, producing electricity. 6. Electricity is sent to a switchyard, where a transformer increases the voltage, allowing it to travel through the electric grid.


Energy of Moving Water

Sources of Energy We use many different sources to meet our energy needs. All sources have advantages and disadvantages. Some are cheap; others are expensive. Some contribute to global warming; others are pollution-free. Some are limited in their supplies; others are abundant. Some are always available; others are only available some of the time.

Renewable energy sources include biomass, geothermal energy, hydropower, solar energy, and wind energy. They are called renewable because they are replenished in a short time. Day after day, the sun shines, the wind blows, the rivers flow, and plants grow. Heat from inside the Earth—geothermal energy—is continuously made by the radioactive decay of elements in the Earth’s core.

Energy sources are classified into two groups—renewable and nonrenewable. In the United States, most of our energy comes from nonrenewable energy sources. Coal, petroleum, natural gas, propane, and uranium are nonrenewable energy sources. They are used to make electricity, heat homes, move cars, and manufacture all kinds of products from candy bars to MP3 players.

We can harness this renewable energy to do work for us. We use renewable energy sources mainly to make electricity.

They are called nonrenewable because the supplies of the fuels are limited. Petroleum, for example, was formed hundreds of millions of years ago, before dinosaurs lived, from the remains of ancient sea plants and animals. We cannot make more petroleum in a short time.

U.S. Consumption of Energy by Source, 2011


Nonrenewable Sources Renewable Sources 0%













Nonrenewable Energy Sources and Percentage of Total Energy Consumption

PETROLEUM 34.8% Uses: transportation, manufacturing

NATURAL GAS 25.6% Uses: heating, manufacturing, electricity


Uses: electricity, manufacturing



Uses: electricity






Uses: heating, manufacturing

Renewable Energy Sources and Percentage of Total Energy Consumption



Uses: heating, electricity, transportation

HYDROPOWER 3.3% Uses: electricity


Uses: electricity


GEOTHERMAL 0.2% Uses: heating, electricity

Uses: heating, electricity

Data: Energy Information Administration

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


The Science of Electricity Electricity is different from energy sources; it is a secondary source of energy, which means we must use another energy source to produce electricity. Electricity is sometimes called an energy carrier because it is an efficient and safe way to move energy from one place to another.

A Mysterious Force What exactly is the force we call electricity? It is moving electrons. And what exactly are electrons? They are tiny particles found in atoms. Everything in the universe is made of atoms—every star, every tree, every animal. The human body is made of atoms. Air and water are, too. Atoms are the building blocks of the universe. Atoms are so small that millions of them would fit on the head of a pin.

Atomic Structure Atoms are made of smaller particles. The center of an atom is called the nucleus. It is made of particles called protons and neutrons that are approximately the same size. The mass of a single proton is 1.67 x 10-24 grams. Protons and neutrons are very small, but electrons are much, much smaller—1,836 times smaller, to be precise. Electrons move around the nucleus in orbits a relatively great distance from the nucleus. If the nucleus were the size of a tennis ball, the atom with its electrons would be several kilometers. If you could see an atom, it might look a little like a tiny center of spheres surrounded by giant clouds (or energy levels). Electrons are held in their levels by an electrical force. The protons and electrons of an atom are attracted to each other. They both carry an electrical charge. Protons have a positive charge (+) and electrons have a negative charge (–). The positive charge of the protons is equal to the negative charge of the electrons. Opposite charges attract each other. When an atom is neutral, it has an equal number of protons and electrons. The neutrons carry no charge and their number can vary.





Carbon Atom A carbon atom has six protons and six neutrons in the nucleus, two electrons

in the inner energy level, and four electrons in the outer energy level. Carbon Atom OUTER INNE








A carbon atom has six protons and six neutrons in the nucleus, two electrons in the inner energy level, and four electrons in the outer energy level.

Energy of Moving Water

Elements An element is a substance composed of atoms that have a specific number of protons. The number of protons is an element’s atomic number and determines the element’s identity. Every atom of hydrogen, for example, has one proton and one electron. Every atom of carbon has six protons and six electrons. The atomic mass of an element is the combined mass of its protons, neutrons, and electrons. Atoms of the same element may have different numbers of neutrons, but they will all have the same number of protons. Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes of that element.

Electrons The electrons usually remain within a region a relatively constant distance from the nucleus. These regions are called energy levels. Within energy levels, there are areas of different shapes, called orbitals, where the electrons will be found. The energy level closest to the nucleus can hold a maximum of two electrons. The next level can hold up to eight. The outer levels can hold more.

Several Common Elements ELEMENT Hydrogen Lithium Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Magnesium Iron Copper Gold Uranium


PROTONS 1 3 6 7 8 12 26 29 79 92

ELECTRONS 1 3 6 7 8 12 26 29 79 92

NEUTRONS 0 4 6 7 8 12 30 34 118 146

BarMagnet Magnets Bar

The electrons in the energy levels closest to the nucleus have a strong force of attraction to the protons in the nucleus—they are stable. Sometimes, the electrons in the outermost energy level are not strongly held. These electrons—valence electrons—can be pushed or pulled from their energy level by a force. These are the electrons that are typically involved when chemical reactions occur, or electricty is produced.

Magnets In most objects, molecules that make up the substance have randomly arranged electrons that are scattered evenly throughout the object. Magnets are different—they are made of molecules that have north- and south-seeking poles. Most of their electrons are arranged so that they spin in the same direction. Each molecule in an item is really a tiny magnet. The molecules in a magnet are arranged so that most of the north-seeking poles point in one direction, and most of the south-seeking poles point in the other direction. Nonmagnets have electrons spinning randomly cancelling out their magnetic properties. A magnet’s molecules spin the same way in one pole, and the other way at the other pole. This creates a magnetic field around a magnet—an imbalance in the forces between the ends of a magnet. A magnet is labeled with north (N) and south (S) poles. The magnetic field in a magnet flows from the north pole to the south pole.


Like Like Poles Poles Like poles of magnets (N-N or S-S) repel each other.

Opposite Poles Opposite poles of magnets (N-S) attract each other.

A magnetic field can produce electricity. In fact, magnetism and electricity are really two inseparable concepts called electromagnetism. Every time there is a change in a magnetic field, an electric field is produced. Every time there is a change in an electric field, a magnetic field is produced. We can use this relationship to create electricity. Some metals, such as copper, have electrons that are loosely held. They can be pushed from their energy levels by the application of a magnetic field. If a coil of copper wire is moved in a magnetic field, or if magnets are moved around a coil of copper wire, an electric current is generated in the wire. ©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


A generator is an engine that converts motion energy into electrical energy using electromagnetism. A turbine is a device that converts the flow of air, steam, or water into motion energy to power a generator. Power plants use huge turbine generators to make the electricity we use in our homes and businesses. Power plants use many fuels to spin a turbine. They can burn coal, oil, or natural gas to make steam to spin a turbine. They can split atoms of uranium to heat water into steam. They can also use the power of rushing water from a dam or the energy in the wind to spin the turbine.



The turbine is attached to a shaft in the generator. Inside the generator are magnets and coils of copper wire. The generator can be designed in two ways. The turbine can spin coils of wire inside magnets, or can spin magnets inside coils of wire. In either design, the electrons are pushed very quickly from one copper atom to another inside the wire by the moving magnetic field created as the magnets and wire spin around each other.

Turbine Generator


Generating Electricity

North Pole

South Pole

The electrons in the copper wire then flow into transmission lines. These moving electrons are the electricity that flows to our houses.


Other Ways to Produce Electricity Electricity can also be produced in other ways. A solar cell turns radiant energy into electricity. A battery turns chemical energy into electricity. A battery produces electricity using two different metals in a chemical solution. A chemical reaction between the metals and the chemicals frees more electrons in one metal than in the other. One end of the battery is attached to one of the metals; the other end is attached to the other metal. The end that frees electrons develops a positive charge and the other end develops a negative charge. If a wire is attached from one end of the battery to the other, electrons flow through the wire to balance the electrical charge. A load is a device that does work or performs a job. If a load—such as a light bulb—is placed along the wire, the electricity can do work as it flows through the wire. In the picture to the right, electrons flow from the end of the battery, through the wire to the light bulb. The electricity flows through the wire in the light bulb and back to the battery.

Circuits Electricity travels in closed loops, or circuits. It must have a complete path before the electrons can move. If a circuit is open, the electrons cannot flow. When we flip on a light switch, we close a circuit. The electricity flows from the electric wire through the light and back into the wire. When we flip the switch off, we open the circuit. No electricity flows to the light. If the bulb burns out, the path through the bulb is gone, and the circuit is also opened. When we turn on the TV, electricity flows through wires inside the set, producing pictures and sound. Sometimes electricity runs motors in items such as washers or mixers. Electricity does a lot of work for us. We use it many times each day.

Electric Circuits






A closed circuit is a complete path allowing electricity to flow from the energy source to the load. FLOW OF ELECTRONS





An open circuit has a break in the path. There is no flow of electricity because the electrons cannot complete the circuit.


Energy of Moving Water

Measuring Electricity Measuring electricity is confusing because we cannot see it. We are familiar with terms such as watt, volt, and amp, but we may not have a clear understanding of these terms. We buy a 60-watt light bulb, a tool that needs 120 volts, or a vacuum cleaner that uses 8.8 amps, and we do not think about what those units mean.

Voltage Voltage Water Tank

Using the flow of water as an analogy can make electricity easier to understand. The flow of electrons in a circuit is similar to water flowing through a hose. If you could look into a hose at a given point, you would see a certain amount of water passing that point each second. The amount of moving water depends on how much pressure is being applied—how hard the water is being pushed. It also depends on the diameter of the hose. The harder the pressure and the larger the diameter of the hose, the more water passes each second. The flow of electrons through a wire depends on the electrical pressure pushing the electrons and on the crosssectional area of the wire.

Voltage The pressure that pushes electrons in a circuit is called voltage. Using the water analogy, if a tank of water were suspended one meter above the ground with a one-centimeter pipe coming out of the bottom, the water pressure would be similar to the force of a shower. If the same water tank were suspended 10 meters above the ground, the force of the water would be much greater, possibly enough to hurt you. Voltage (V) is a measure of the pressure applied to electrons to make them move. It is a measure of the strength of the current in a circuit and is measured in volts (V). Just as the 10-meter high tank applies greater pressure than the one-meter high tank, a 10volt power supply (such as a battery) would apply greater pressure than a one-volt power supply. AA batteries are 1.5 volts; they apply a small amount of voltage or pressure for lighting small flashlight bulbs. A car usually has a 12-volt battery; it applies more voltage to push current through circuits to operate the radio or defroster. The standard voltage of wall outlets is 120 volts—a dangerous amount of voltage.

Electric Current

10 m

Water Tank 1m

Current Current

Water Tank

Water Tank

1 cm diameter pipe

10 cm diameter pipe


The flow of electrons can be compared to the flow of water. The water current is the number of molecules of water flowing past a fixed point. Electric current is the number of electrons flowing past a fixed point. Electric current (I) is defined as electrons flowing between two points having a difference in voltage. Current is measured in amperes or amps (A). One ampere is 6.25 x 1018 electrons per second passing through a circuit. With water, as the diameter of the pipe increases, so does the amount of water that can flow through it. With electricity, conducting wires take the place of the pipe. As the cross-sectional area of the wire increases, so does the amount of electric current (number of electrons) that can flow through it. Power lines are much thicker than a wire you might have in your house, because power lines must carry electricity to multiple homes and devices. Generators at a hydropower plant. ©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Resistance Resistance (R) is a property that slows the flow of electrons (the current). Using the water analogy, resistance is something that slows water flow—a smaller pipe or fins on the inside of the pipe. In electrical terms, the resistance of a conducting wire depends on which metal the wire is made of and its diameter. Copper, aluminum, and silver—metals used in conducting wires—all have different resistances.

Resistance Resistance

Water Tank

Water Tank

No Resistance


Resistance is measured in units called ohms (Ω). There are devices called resistors, with set resistances, that can be placed in circuits to reduce or control the current flow.

Ohm’s Law George Ohm, a German physicist, discovered that in many materials, especially metals, the current that flows through a material is proportional to the voltage. In the substances he tested, he found that if he doubled the voltage, the current also doubled. If he reduced the voltage by half, the current dropped by half. The resistance of the material remained the same. This relationship is called Ohm’s Law, and can be written in three simple formulas. If you know any two of the measurements, you can calculate the third using the formulas to the right.

Electric Power

Ohm’s Law ƒƒ Voltage = current x resistance V=IxR

Power (P) is a measure of the rate of doing work or the rate at which energy is converted. Electric power is the rate at which electricity is produced or consumed. Using the water analogy, electric power is the combination of the water pressure (voltage) and the rate of flow (current) that results in the ability to do work. A large pipe carries more water (current) than a small pipe. Water at a height of 10 meters has much greater force (voltage) than at a height of one meter. The power of water flowing through a one-centimeter pipe from a height of one meter is much less than water through a 10-centimeter pipe from 10 meters.


ƒƒ Current = voltage / resistance I=V/R





Formulas for Measuring Efficiency V = I x R The formula pie works for any I = V/R R = V/I

three variable equation. Put your finger on the variable you want to solve for and the operation you need is revealed.

Electric Power Formula

Electric Power Electrical Power

ƒƒ Power = voltage x current P= V x I



ƒƒ Resistance = voltage / current

Electric power is defined as the amount of electric current flowing due to an applied voltage. It is the amount of electricity required to start or operate a load for one second. Electric power is measured in watts (W).

Water Tank




Water Tank

Energy of Moving Water

Electrical Energy Electrical energy introduces time to electric power. In the water analogy, it would be the amount of water falling through the pipe over a period of time, such as an hour. When we talk about using power over time, we are talking about using energy. Using our water example, we could look at how much work could be done by the water in the time that it takes for the tank to empty. The electrical energy that an appliance consumes can only be determined if you know how long (time) it consumes electricity at a specific rate (power). To find the amount of energy consumed, you multiply the rate of energy consumption (watts) by the amount of time (hours) that it is being consumed. Electrical energy is measured in watt-hours (Wh).

The average cost of a kilowatt-hour of electricity for residential customers is about $0.12. To calculate the cost of reading with a 100-watt bulb for five hours, you would change the watt-hours into kilowatt-hours, then multiply the kilowatt-hours used by the cost per kilowatt-hour, as shown below.

500 Wh x 1kW = 0.5 kWh 1,000 W 0.5 kWh x $0.12/kWh = $0.06

It would cost about six cents to read for five hours using a 100-watt bulb.

Energy (E) = Power (P) x Time (t) or E=Pxt or E = W x h = Wh Another way to think about power and energy is with an analogy to traveling. If a person travels in a car at a rate of 40 miles per hour (mph), to find the total distance traveled, you would multiply the rate of travel by the amount of time you traveled at that rate. If a car travels for one hour at 40 miles per hour, it would travel 40 miles.

Distance = 40 mph x 1 h = 40 miles If a car travels for three hours at 40 miles per hour, it would travel 120 miles.

Distance = 40 mph x 3 h = 120 miles The distance traveled represents the work done by the car. When we look at power, we are talking about the rate that electrical energy is being produced or consumed. Energy can be compared to the distance traveled or the work done by the car. A person would not say he took a 40-mile per hour trip because that is the rate. He would say he took a 40-mile trip or a 120-mile trip. We would describe the trip in terms of distance traveled, not rate traveled. The distance is the work done. The same applies with electrical energy. You would not say you used 100 watts of light energy to read your book, because watts represents the rate you used energy, not the total energy used. The amount of energy used would be calculated by multiplying the rate by the amount of time you read. If you read for five hours with a 100W bulb, for example, you would use the formula as follows:

Energy = Power x Time or E = P x t Energy = 100 W x 5 h = 500 Wh One watt-hour is a very small amount of electrical energy. Usually, we measure electric power in larger units called kilowatt-hours (kWh) or 1,000 watt-hours (kilo = thousand). A kilowatt-hour is the unit that utilities use when billing most customers.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Characteristics of Water Water is vital to life on Earth. All living things need water to survive. Water covers 75 percent of the Earth’s surface. Our bodies are about two-thirds water. Water is made of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen. Both are gases. Two atoms of hydrogen combine with one atom of oxygen to create a molecule of water. The chemical formula for water is H2O. Water is found in three forms: liquid, solid, and gas. The liquid form is water. The solid form is ice. The gas form is invisible and is called water vapor. Water can change between these forms in six ways: ƒƒFreezing changes liquid water into solid ice. ƒƒMelting changes solid ice into liquid water. ƒƒEvaporation changes liquid water into a gas, water vapor. ƒƒCondensation changes water vapor (gas) into liquid water. For example, morning dew on the grass comes from water vapor. ƒƒSublimation changes ice or snow (solids) into water vapor (gas) without passing through the liquid state. The ice or snow seems to disappear without melting first. ƒƒDeposition changes water vapor (gas) into ice (solid) without the vapor becoming a liquid first. Water vapor falls to the ground as snow.

The Water Cycle In our Earth system, water is continually changing from a liquid state to a vapor state and back again.

Image courtesy of NASA

Water covers most of the Earth’s surface.

The Water Cycle

Energy from the sun evaporates liquid water from oceans, lakes, and rivers, changing it into water vapor. As warm air over the Earth rises, it carries the water vapor into the atmosphere where the temperatures are colder.


The water vapor cools and condenses into a liquid state in the atmosphere where it forms clouds. Inside a cloud, water droplets join together to form bigger and bigger drops. As the drops become heavy, they start to fall. Clouds release precipitation as rain or snow. Liquid water is pulled by gravitational forces back to the oceans and rivers and the cycle starts again. This continuous cycle is called the water cycle or hydrologic cycle.

CONDENSATION (Gas to Liquid)



(Liquid or Solid)

(Liquid to Gas)


(Liquid to Gas)



Energy of Moving Water

Water as an Energy Source—Hydropower

Water wheel

Humans have used the power of moving water for more than 2,000 years. The first references to watermills are found in Greek, Roman, and Chinese texts. They describe vertical water wheels in rivers and streams. These traditional water wheels turned as the river flowed, turning millstones that ground grain. By the fourth century, watermills were found in Asia and northern Europe. In the early 11th century, William the Conqueror noted thousands of watermills in England. Most used stream and river power, but some worked with the tides. Early water wheels were designed to allow water to flow beneath the wheel. Later, millers diverted streams to flow over the tops of the wheels. More recently, wheels were placed on their sides—a more efficient method. In the late 1700s, an American named Oliver Evans designed a mill that combined gears, shafts, and conveyors. After grain was ground, it could be transported around the mill. This invention led to water wheels being the main power source for sawmills, textile mills, and forges through the 19th century. In 1826, a French engineer, Jean-Victor Poncelet, designed an enclosed water wheel so that water flowed through the wheel instead of around it. This idea became the basis of the modern American water turbine. In the mid-1800s, James Francis, Chief Engineer of the Locks and Canal Company in Lowell, MA, improved the enclosed water turbine by reshaping the blades. Known as the Francis turbine, modern variations of this turbine are still in use today in hydropower plants.

A mid-nineteenth century water wheel.


Generating electricity using moving water, or hydropower, began in the United States on July 24, 1880, when the Grand Rapids Electric Light and Power Company used flowing water to power a water turbine to generate electricity. It created enough power to light 16 lamps in the Wolverine Chair Factory. One year later, hydropower was used to light all the street lamps in the city of Niagara Falls, NY.

Dams Yesterday and Today

A Francis turbine features curved blades.

The oldest known man-made dams were small structures built over 5,000 years ago to divert river water to irrigate crops in Mesopotamia. Around 2900 BC, Egyptians in the city of Memphis built a dam around the city. The dam stopped periodic flooding of the Nile River and created a reservoir for irrigation and drinking water. The Romans also built many dams in the first millennium, but most of their technical knowledge and engineering skills were lost during the fall of the Roman Empire. Dams did not become major projects until the end of the 19th century when the need for large dams lined up with the ability to build them. Today, about half of all dams in the world are used for irrigation. Only 18 percent of these are used to generate electricity. There are about 84,000 dams in the United States, but less than three percent (2,200) were built specifically to generate electricity. The rest were built for recreation, fishing, flood control, crop irrigation, to support the public water supply, or to make inland waterways accessible to ships and barges. Power plants with turbines and generators could be added to some of these dams to produce electricity.

Image courtesy of U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Workers install a Francis turbine at Grand Coulee Dam, 1947.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Types of Dams

Gravity dam

A dam is either an overflow or non-overflow dam. An overflow dam allows water to spill over its rim. A non-overflow dam uses spillways—channels going through or around the dam—to control the amount of water behind the dam. This also allows a dam operator to channel water to a hydropower plant when it is needed. Dams are also categorized by the materials used in their construction and by their shape. Most dams are made of earth and clay, gravel, rock, stone masonry, wood, metal, or concrete. A gravity dam uses only the force of gravity to resist water pressure. It holds back the water by the sheer force of its mass pressing downward. A gravity dam is built wider at its base to cancel out the greater water pressure at the bottom of the reservoir. Most gravity dams are made of concrete. The Grand Coulee Dam is an example of a concrete gravity dam.

Embankment dam

An embankment dam is a gravity dam made of rocks and dirt, with a dense, water-resistant center that prevents water from seeping through the dam. The slopes of the dam are flatter on both sides, like the natural slope of a pile of rocks. Like a gravity dam, an embankment dam holds back water by the force of gravity acting on its mass. An embankment dam requires much more material to build than a gravity dam, since rock and earth are less dense than concrete. An arch dam can only be built in a narrow river canyon with solid rock walls. It is built from one wall of a river canyon to the other and curves upstream toward the body of a reservoir. The curved shape diverts some of the tremendous force of the water toward the canyon walls. An arch dam is built of stone masonry or concrete and requires less material than a gravity dam. It is usually less expensive to build.

arch dam

The Glen Canyon Dam, spanning the Colorado River in Arizona, is the tallest arch dam in the U.S. It is 216 meters (710 feet) high. It was opened in 1966 to provide water storage for the dry U.S. Southwest and to generate electricity for the region’s growing population. A buttress dam consists of a relatively narrow wall that is supported by buttresses (triangle-shaped supports) on the downstream side. Most buttress dams are made of concrete reinforced with steel. Thick buttresses help the dam withstand the pressure of water behind it. While buttress dams use less material than gravity dams, they are not necessarily cheaper to build. The complex work of forming the buttresses may offset the savings on construction materials. A buttress dam is desirable in a location that cannot support the massive size of a gravity dam’s foundation.


Buttress dam

Energy of Moving Water

A reservoir holds water behind the dam to create a greater distance between the water in the reservoir and the river below. The distance the water drops from the reservoir to the turbine is the head; the higher the drop, the greater the head. The amount of moving water is called the flow; more flow equals more force. The mass of the water in the reservoir exerts pressure to move the water; the greater the mass, the greater the pressure. The generation of electricity begins with water flowing from the reservoir into openings on the upstream side of the dam to penstocks, which are very large pipes. The water flows down the penstocks to turbines at the bottom, spinning the turbines to power the generators. The generators produce electricity, which is sent to transmission lines where it begins its journey to consumers. The water that entered the penstocks returns to the river below the dam and continues its downstream journey.

Electricity from Hydropower

HydropowerPlant Plant Hydropower

view from above






There are three main parts of a typical hydropower plant: the reservoir, the dam, and the power plant (turbines and generators). The reservoir stores the water (potential energy). The dam holds back the water, with openings in the dam controlling the water’s flow (kinetic energy). The power plant (turbine and generator) converts the motion energy in the moving water into electricity.





A Hydropower Plant







5 3




1. Water in a reservoir behind a hydropower dam flows through an intake screen, which filters out large debris, but allows smaller fish to pass through. 2. The water travels through a large pipe, called a penstock. 3. The force of the water spins a turbine at a low speed, allowing fish to pass through unharmed. 4. Inside the generator, the shaft spins coils of copper wire inside a ring of magnets. This creates an electric field, producing electricity. 5. Electricity is sent to a switchyard, where a transformer increases the voltage, allowing it to travel through the electric grid. 6. Water flows out of the penstock into the downstream river.

Almost 17 percent of the world’s electricity is produced by hydropower. Canada produces 60 percent of its electricity from hydropower, while India produces 13 percent. In the United States, 5-10 percent of electricity comes from hydropower, depending on the supply of water. In 2011, it was enough power to supply 28 million households.

Hydro Turbine Generator Hydro Turbine Generator Generator


U.S. Electricity Production, 2011 Rotor


Turbine Generator Shaft

40% Wicket Gate


RENEWABLE Tubine Blades


Biomass Geothermal and Solar



Hydropower Around World Hydropower Aroundthethe World


0.6% Other

Petroleum 0.7%

Uranium 19.2%


Data: EIA

Natural Gas 24.8%

Coal 42.2%





Water Flow

Norway Brazil Venezuela Canada Switzerland Chile 33% Turkey 24% India 13% United States 8% Ireland 3%

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029

60% 53%




The percentage of total electricity that is generated from hydropower in selected countries. Data: EIA, 2011


Building Hoover Dam: Transforming the Desert Southwest Hoover Dam is located in Black Canyon on the Colorado River, about 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas, NV. It was authorized by Congress in 1928 to provide electricity, flood control, and irrigation for the arid Southwest. It was built in the early 1930s at the height of the Great Depression, providing much needed jobs for thousands of workers. Hoover Dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam, in which the power of the water is held back by the force of gravity, as well as the arch shape. It is 726.4 feet tall from the foundation rock to the roadway on the crest of the dam. There are towers and ornaments that rise 40 feet above the crest. The dam weighs more than 6,600,000 tons.

Setting the concrete produced an enormous amount of heat. The heat was removed by placing more than 582 miles of one-inch steel pipe in the concrete and circulating ice water through it from a refrigeration plant that could produce 1,000 tons of ice in 24 hours. It took five years to build the dam, power plant, and other structures. During construction, a total of 21,000 men worked on the dam—an average of 3,500 men daily. A total of 96 men died due to construction of the dam, but none is buried in the concrete, although stories to that effect have been told for years. Before construction of the dam could begin, the following projects were necessary:

Before construction of the dam itself could begin, the Colorado River had to be diverted around the construction site. Four concretelined tunnels (each 50 feet in diameter and 4,000 feet long) were drilled through the canyon walls, two on each side of the canyon. Then temporary earthen cofferdams were built above and below the site to channel the river water through the tunnels and protect the construction site.

ƒthe ƒ construction of Boulder City to house the workers;

When these diversion tunnels were no longer needed, the upstream entrances for the two outer tunnels were closed by huge steel gates and concrete plugs were placed in the middle of the tunnels. Downstream sections of the tunnels are used as spillways for the dam. The two inner tunnels now act as penstocks and are connected to the power plant.The temporary cofferdams were torn down once the dam was completed.

ƒthe ƒ construction of a 222-mile-long power transmission line from California to the dam site to supply energy for construction.

There are 4,360,000 cubic yards of concrete in the dam, power plant, and other structures necessary to the operation of the dam. This much concrete would build a tower that is 100 feet square and 2 1/2 miles high, or pave a standard highway that is 16 feet wide from San Francisco to New York City—a distance of more than 2,500 miles.


ƒthe ƒ construction of seven miles of highway from Boulder City to the dam site; ƒthe ƒ construction of 22.7 miles of railroad from Las Vegas to Boulder City and an additional 10 miles from Boulder City to the dam site; and

Once the dam was completed and the Colorado River was contained, a reservoir formed behind the dam called Lake Mead, which is an attraction to boaters, swimmers, and fishermen. The Lake Mead National Recreation Area is home to thousands of desert plants and animals that adapted to survive in an extreme place where rain is scarce and temperatures soar. Summarized from the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation web site:

Energy of Moving Water

Types of Hydropower

Run-of-river project

Hydropower facilities can be categorized into two main types: conventional and pumped storage. Conventional projects account for almost 80 percent of hydropower generating capacity in the U.S. Conventional hydropower plants use the available water from rivers, streams, canal systems, or reservoirs to produce electrical energy. Some conventional projects include reservoirs and some do not. Projects with dams and reservoirs, known as impoundment facilities, store water and use it to generate electricity when there is the demand. Projects without reservoirs are known as diversion facilities or run-of-river projects. Diversion projects do not require dams; instead, a portion of a river is diverted or channeled through a canal or penstock. Electricity from Niagara Falls is generated through diversion facilities. Run-of-river projects have turbines installed in fast-flowing sections of the rivers, but they do not significantly slow down the rivers’ flow. The flow of water at run-of-river and diversion projects continues at about the same rate as the natural river flows.

Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Chief Joseph Dam on the Columbia River in Washington.

pumped storage plant

Another type of hydropower plant is known as a pumped storage plant. A pumped storage plant circulates water between two reservoirs—one higher than the other. When the demand for electricity is low, the plant uses electricity to pump water to the upper reservoir and stores the water there until it is needed. When there is a high demand for electricity, the water is released from the upper reservoir to flow through turbines and back into the lower reservoir to quickly generate electricity. A pumped storage plant is in many ways like a huge battery that stores the potential energy of the water in the upper reservoir until there is a demand for electricity, which it can generate very quickly by releasing the water. Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Seneca Pumped Storage Generating Station above Kinzua Dam on the Allegheny River in Warren County near Warren, PA.

Niagara Falls—Natural Wonder

Niagara Falls

Power plants at Niagara Falls produce one quarter of the electricity used by Ontario and New York, but the hydropower does not come directly from the falls. Rushing water is diverted from the Niagara River, upstream from the falls, to Canadian and American powerhouses. An agreement between Canada and the United States allows both countries to draw water upstream from the falls to generate electricity. But each country is limited to specific amounts. How much water each country can draw is based on tourism. Less water can be used by the power plants during the day for the months of tourist season, making sure visitors get a great view of the falls. More water can be drawn at night and during the off-season.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Maneuvering Around a Dam

Fish Ladder

The impact of dams on the migration of fish, especially spawning salmon and steelhead in the Northwest, is an important issue today. Some dams have fish ladders built in to allow fish to migrate upstream to spawn. Fish ladders are a series of small pools arranged like stair steps. The fish jump from pool to pool, each pool higher than the one before, eventually bypassing the dam. Some dams use an elevator or lift in place of the ladder or transport fish back over the dam to spawn upstream. When the fish swim downstream to return to the ocean, they need to bypass the dam again. Headed downstream, fish are diverted around dams through spillways.

Navigation Dams Dams that produce electricity are not the only dams built across rivers. Navigation dams are built to make sure there is enough water for boats and barges as they travel up and down rivers. When a dam is built across a river that is used by boats and barges, a canal is dug next to the dam for the boats to use. The boats bypass the dam through locks in the canal. Each lock has large upstream and downstream doors that can be opened and closed.

Image courtesy of Bonneville Power Administration

The fish ladder at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

Navigation dam

A boat traveling upstream is moving from a lower water level to a higher water level. When the boat enters a lock, the doors are closed and water is let in so that the water level in the lock rises. The boat rises with the water until it is level with the upstream water level. The upstream door opens, and the boat moves on to the next lock. A boat may need to go through several locks before it reaches the river on the other side of the dam.

Hydroelectric Power Plant Safety The purpose of a dam is to contain a large amount of water that could cause major destruction downstream if the dam fails, so safety is an important issue. Some dams have failed in the past, but large dam failure is not considered a significant threat today. The major dams in use today were designed by engineers to last for generations, and to withstand earthquakes, floods, and other potential hazards. Dams are required by law to be monitored continuously and inspected routinely for potential safety problems. State and federal agencies, as well as dam owners, are involved in the process. Security procedures against terrorist attacks have also been put into place.

Image courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

An aerial view of the Soo Locks and the International Bridge at Sault Ste. Marie, MI.

Safety Inspections

Federal Regulation The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the federal agency that oversees all non-federal hydropower plants on navigable waterways and federal lands. FERC is in charge of licensing new plants and relicensing older plants when their licenses expire. FERC is charged with ensuring that all hydropower plants minimize damage to the environment. Many concerns about relicensing involve natural resource issues. Hydropower projects generally alter natural river flows, which may affect fish populations and recreational activities, both positively and negatively. New construction or expansion may also affect wildlife habitat, wetlands, and cultural resources. People who live downstream of the projects also want to be assured that the dams are safe.


Image courtesy of Tennessee Valley Authority

An engineer on TVA’s Rope Access Team inspects one of the four spillway gates at Fontana Dam. Energy of Moving Water

Safe Harbor Hydroelectric power plant

The down river side of a hydropower plant on the Susquehanna River in southern Pennsylvania.

Advantages and Disadvantages Using hydropower as an energy source has many advantages over other energy sources, but hydropower has significant disadvantages too because of its impact on the environment. ƒHydropower ƒ is a clean energy source. It is fueled only by moving water, so it does not produce emissions. Hydropower does not increase the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Advantages of Hydropower

ƒHydropower ƒ is a flexible energy source in meeting electricity generating needs quickly. Hydropower plants can begin generating electricity within minutes of increased demand. Most hydropower plants can also provide reliable and dependable baseload power.

ƒHydropower ƒ is a renewable energy source. The total amount of water in a hydropower system does not change; the moving water is used to generate electricity and is returned to the source from which it came.

ƒCurrently, ƒ less than three percent of existing dams in the U.S. contain generators. Without building any new dams, existing dams have the potential to generate 12,000 megawatts of power, enough electricity for almost five million households.

ƒHydropower ƒ is usually available when it is needed. Engineers can manage the flow of water through the turbines to produce electricity on demand, and control the amount of electricity generated.

ƒHydropower ƒ plants are dependent on water supply. When there is a drought, for example, hydropower plants cannot produce as much electricity.

ƒHydropower ƒ is an established, proven, and domestic source of energy. ƒHydropower ƒ is an economical way to produce electricity. Maintenance costs of hydropower facilities are low. Once a plant is up and running, the water flow that powers it is free. The electricity generated by hydropower facilities is the cheapest electricity in the country. ƒHydropower ƒ is an efficient way to produce electricity. The average hydropower plant is about 90 percent efficient at converting the energy in the moving water into electricity. ƒDams ƒ create reservoirs that offer a wide variety of non-energy benefits to communities, such as recreational fishing, swimming, and boating. The reservoirs can also increase the property value of the adjacent land. ƒHydropower ƒ facilities can help manage the water supply, providing flood control and a reliable supply of drinking water during drought. Many dams were built for flood control. The power plants were an additional benefit. ƒHydropower ƒ dams are very safe and durable—built to last for hundreds of years.

Disadvantages of Hydropower

ƒHydropower ƒ dams on rivers permanently change the natural ecology of large areas of land, upstream and downstream. When a dam is built, the resultant reservoir floods large areas of land upstream from the dam. The natural ecology of the river and adjacent land downstream is changed by a reduction in soil deposition. ƒHydropower ƒ dams can impact water quality and flow. Reservoirs can have low dissolved oxygen levels in the water, a problem that can be harmful to fish and downstream riverbank habitats. Maintaining water flow downstream of a dam is also critical for the survival of habitats. ƒSome ƒ fish populations, such as salmon, migrate upstream to reach spawning grounds before returning downstream. Dams can block fish from completing this natural migration process. Fish ladders or elevators may be built to help fish swim upstream. Fish traveling downstream can be helped with a diversion or even lights or sounds. ƒDevelopment ƒ of new hydropower resources can be very expensive because dams have been built at many of the more economical locations. New sites must compete with other potential uses of the land.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the TVA Act in 1933.

The Fontana Dam in North Carolina as it nears completion in 1944.

The Tennessee Valley Authority: A Vision Born from Hydropower The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) is a public utility established by Congress in 1933 as one of Franklin Roosevelt’s solutions to the Great Depression. The Tennessee Valley was in bad shape in 1933. Much of the land had been farmed too hard for too long, depleting the soil. The best timber had been cut. TVA developed fertilizers, taught farmers how to improve crop yields, and helped replant forests, control forest fires, and improve habitats for wildlife and fish. The most dramatic change in Valley life came with the advent of electricity generated by TVA dams that also controlled floods and improved navigation. Electricity brought modern amenities to communities and drew industries into the region, providing desperately needed jobs.

TVA operates a system of 49 dams and reservoirs on the Tennessee River and its tributaries, as well as managing 293,000 acres of public land. TVA manages the 41,000-square-mile watershed as an integrated unit to provide a wide range of benefits, including: ƒyear-round ƒ navigation; ƒflood ƒ control; ƒelectricity ƒ generation; ƒrecreational ƒ opportunities; ƒimproved ƒ water quality; and ƒa ƒ reliable water supply to cool power plants and meet municipal and industrial needs.

During World War II, the country needed more electricity and TVA engaged in one of the largest hydropower construction programs ever undertaken in the United States. At the program’s peak in 1942, twelve hydropower projects and a steam plant were under construction at the same time, employing 28,000 workers. By the end of the war, TVA had completed a 650-mile navigation channel the length of the Tennessee River and had become the nation’s largest electricity supplier. Today, TVA’s system consists of a mix of energy sources, including: ƒ29 ƒ hydroelectric dams and 1 pumped storage plant; ƒ11 ƒ coal-fired and 9 combustion-turbine power plants; ƒ3 ƒ nuclear power plants; ƒ16 ƒ solar power sites; ƒ1 ƒ wind power site; ƒ1 ƒ methane gas site, and ƒ1 ƒ biomass cofiring site. Images courtesy of Tennessee Valley Authority

Right: The dedication of the Douglas Dam in Dandridge, TN, 1943.


Energy of Moving Water

A Case Study in Improving Ecology at a Dam Observers in the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River have noticed a decline in the number of sandbars used as campsites. This decline is attributed to Glen Canyon Dam, which controls the flow of the Colorado River through the canyon. Most of the sediment and sand now gets trapped behind the dam. The rapids that make the Grand Canyon so popular with white-water rafters are created by debris fans—piles of rock fragments—that tumble down from tributaries during intense rainfall. The debris fans used to be cleaned out yearly by floods of water that flowed through the canyon during spring snowmelt in pre-dam years.

A Case Study in Removing a Small Dam— When the Costs Outweigh the Benefits In May 1999, Portland General Electric (PGE) announced plans to decommission (tear down) its 95-year-old hydropower project on the Sandy River in Oregon. The project eliminated expensive maintenance costs to the power plant, and avoided the cost of bringing fish protection up to today’s standards. The project consisted of dismantling the following: ƒthe ƒ 47-foot-high Marmot Dam; ƒa ƒ concrete-lined canal that took water from Marmot Dam to the Little Sandy River; ƒthe ƒ 16-foot-high Little Sandy Dam; ƒa ƒ 15,000-foot-long wooden flume (artificial water channel); and

Rapids are caused by large boulders that get stuck on the river bed.

The dam dramatically reduced the flow of water through the canyon. This drop in water flow limits the ability of the river to move rock debris. The dam also decreased backwater habitats and lowered the overall water temperature of the main river, leading to the extinction of four native fish. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, which operates Glen Canyon Dam, released an unusually high flow of water during the spring of 1996 to see if it could rebuild beaches and restore other habitats that have deteriorated since the dam’s completion in 1963. Two other high flows were released in November 2004 and March 2008.

ƒa ƒ 22-megawatt powerhouse. Marmot Dam was removed in 2007, restoring the Sandy to a freeflowing river for the first time in nearly a century. Within hours the Sandy River looked like a natural river. Torrents of water carried sediment downstream, helping create natural bends, bars, and logjams. The Little Sandy Dam was removed in 2008. PGE is giving about 1,500 acres of land to the Western Rivers Conservancy. This land will form the foundation of a natural resource and recreation area in the Sandy River Basin. Covering more than 9,000 acres, the area will be owned and managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management.

Before demolition

Scientists found that periodic flooding is successful at rebuilding the sandbars. However, there were no measurable positive outcomes for native endangered fish populations. Additional studies and adaptive management strategies will continue at the dam.

High flow

during demolition

Image courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

Images courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


New Hydropower Initiatives

Fish-friendly turbine

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Water Power Program develops and tests new technologies that generate electricity from water. The focus is on increasing cost efficiency and improving environmental responsibility. For conventional hydropower, the Water Power Program looks to increase generating capacity and efficiency at existing hydropower facilities, add electricity generating capacity at non-powered dams, and reduce environmental effects at existing dams. In 2009, DOE awarded over $30 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to modernize hydropower projects. The investment has created and continues to create jobs and increase hydropower electricity generation without building any new dams. The projects will produce an estimated 187,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, which is enough to power 12,000 homes. The hydropower projects include: ƒupgrading ƒ turbines to high-efficiency, fish-friendly units; ƒreplacing ƒ generators, transformers, and wiring to increase efficiency; ƒremoving ƒ health and environmental hazards such as lead and asbestos from buildings; ƒinstalling ƒ automated maintenance devices to clear debris from water intakes; ƒreintroduction ƒ of native fish species; and

Fish bypass

ƒimproving ƒ downstream water conditions and habitats.

New Turbine Systems

The Department of Energy supports research into new technologies. Hydropower plants can cause injuries or death to fish and impact water quality. New hydropower turbine technologies could minimize these effects. Benefits of new turbine technologies include: ƒreduced ƒ fish mortality; ƒimproved ƒ water quality; and ƒreduction ƒ in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Images courtesy of Grant County Public Utility District

A fish-friendly turbine bypass is being tested at the Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River. The bypass is designed to help salmon smolts pass through the dam without injury.

Alden Lab Founded in 1894, Alden Lab is the oldest hydraulic laboratory in the United States and one of the oldest in the world. Alden has developed a new hydraulic turbine runner to reduce fish injury and death as part of the DOE program. Results of pilot-scale tests indicate that fish survival through the turbine would be 94-100 percent. Studies are being planned for a hydropower site. Image courtesy of Alden Lab

Right: A cross-section of a fish-friendly turbine.


Energy of Moving Water




Because the Earth is rotating, the water on the opposite side of the Earth also forms a tidal bulge. These bulges produce high tides. Between the tidal bulges is lower water that produces low tides.

LOW TIDE of th ation e Earth Rot

Tides are caused by the gravitational forces between the Earth and moon. The moon pulls on the ocean water that is closest to it. This creates a bulge in the surface of the water, called a tidal bulge.


Near shore, the ocean rises and falls with the tides. Tides contain an enormous amount of energy. Some power plants harness the energy in the changing tides to generate electricity.


Energy from the Tides

Gravitational Attraction



Tidal Barrage

A tidal power plant, or tidal barrage, is built across an estuary, the area where a river runs into the ocean. The water here rises and falls with the tides. A tidal barrage is like a dam with gates and turbines held in a caisson, a supporting structure. As the tide rises, the water flows through the barrage, spinning the turbines, then collects in the estuary. When the tide drops, the water in the estuary flows back to the ocean. The water again turns the turbines, which are built to generate electricity when the water is flowing into and out of the estuary.

Tidal Barrage Tidal Barrage TIDAL FLOW DIRECTION


Tidal Stream Power

Another source of tidal power relies on strong, steady ocean currents. This technology is known as tidal stream power. Underwater turbines can be installed in the ocean in places with strong tidal currents or steady ocean currents. Marine Current Turbines Ltd, based in Bristol, England, developed the world’s largest grid-connected tidal stream system, known as SeaGen S. A SeaGen S device is operating in Strangford Lough (a shallow bay situated on the east coast of Northern Ireland). The system regularly delivers enough power to the Northern Ireland grid for 1,500 homes.


Tidal water is captured at high tide behind a dam. When the tide turns, the water is released to the sea, passing through a set of turbines.

Tidal Stream Power

The SeaGen S consists of two large rotors, each driving a generator. The twin rotors are mounted on wing-like extensions on either side of a steel tower that is set into a hole drilled in the sea floor. In 2012, Maine deployed the United States’ first commercial, gridconnected tidal power system. This system, operated by the Ocean Renewable Power Company, is located in The Bay of Fundy near Canada, and is projected to eventually power approximately 2000 homes.

New York City’s East River Project The city and state of New York have partnered with Verdant Power to harness the energy in the tides in Manhattan’s East River. The Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) Project is the first grid-connected, non-commercial array of underwater turbines using tidal stream power in the world. Monitoring of the six initial turbines was completed in 2008. Evaluated for performance and for environmental impact, the first stage was deemed a success. Verdant Power is now moving forward with the next stage of development, which will increase capacity to one megawatt using 30 turbines. Image courtesy of Verdant Power

Free Flow System turbine being installed in East River, NY.

Image courtesy of Marine Current Turbines

An artist’s rendering of the SeaGen S tidal stream system.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Waves Ocean waves are caused mainly by wind. The size of waves depends on the speed of the wind, wind duration, and the distance of water over which the wind blows. Usually, the longer the distance the wind travels over water or the harder it blows, the higher the waves. A strong breeze of 30 miles per hour can produce 10-foot waves. Violent storm winds of 65 miles per hour can cause 30-foot waves. As the wind blows over the water, there is friction between the wind and the surface of the water. The wind pulls the surface water in the direction it is going. The water is much denser than the air and cannot move as fast, so it rises, and then it is pulled back down by the force of gravity. The falling water’s momentum moves it below the surface, and water pressure from below pushes it up again. This tug of war between gravity and water pressure creates wave motion.

Wave Measurements Measurements CREST




Oscillating Water Column Oscillator Water Column VENT


Ocean waves are, therefore, the up and down motion of surface water. The highest point of a wave is the crest; the lowest point is the trough. The height of a wave is the distance from the trough to the crest. The length of a wave is the distance between two crests. Waves usually follow one another, forming a train. The time it takes two crests in a train to pass a stationary point is known as the period of a wave. Wave periods tell us how fast the waves are moving.

Harnessing Wave Energy The energy in waves can be harnessed to generate electricity. While wave power varies around the world, the waves off the northwest coast of the U.S. have good potential for generating electricity. There are two main types of wave energy generation devices, fixed and floating. Fixed devices are built into cliffs along a coast. One fixed device is the oscillating water column. The column, or chamber, is partially submersed in the water. As the waves flow in and out of the chamber, the air inside the chamber is compressed and decompressed. The forced air spins a turbine. The generator attached to the turbine produces electricity. Another fixed device is a tapered channel (TAPCHAN) system. It consists of a channel connected to a reservoir in a cliff. The channel gets narrower as it nears the reservoir, causing the waves to increase in height. When the waves are high enough, they spill over the top of the channel into the reservoir. The stored water flows out of the reservoir through a turbine, generating electricity. The TAPCHAN system is not useable in all coastal areas. Ideal locations have consistent waves, good wave energy, and a tidal range (the difference between low tide and high tide) of less than one meter. Several floating wave devices are under development. They generate electricity as they are moved by the motion of waves. One such device, called an attenuator, is a series of tubes that are linked together with hinged joints. Passing waves cause each tube to rise and fall like a giant sea snake. The motion tugs at the joints linking the tubes. The joints act as a pumping system, pushing high pressure oil through a series of motors that drive the generators to




Air pushed through by incoming wave




Air pulled back as wave retreats







Energy of Moving Water

produce electricity. The wave energy devices are anchored to the seafloor by moorings and then connected to the electric grid with subsea power cables. Another device is shaped more like a buoy. In the summer of 2012, FERC approved the construction of a grid-connected 1.5 MW wave power farm, to be placed off of the Oregon coast. This farm will utilize computer-equipped buoys over 100 feet long that were deployed by Ocean Power Technologies. It is the first wave power station permitted in the U.S.

Wave Energy Converter Wave Energy Converter FLOATING TUBES POWER CABLE



Future of Hydropower The future of hydropower includes both challenges and opportunities, and it will continue to be a major part of the U.S. and global energy mix for many years. As the nation and the world develop strategies to deal with global climate change, hydropower will play a significant role by producing clean, economical electricity without carbon dioxide emissions. Advances in turbine design and other strategies will continue to reduce the impact of conventional hydropower facilities on fish populations, water quality, and the environment. New technologies will also allow facilities to become more efficient and generate more electricity. The addition of power plants to existing dams will increase the overall capacity of the hydropower industry. The development and implementation of technologies that harness the power of moving water, whether it is from free-flowing streams, the tides, ocean currents, or waves, will also contribute to the future of hydropower in the United States and around the world.

Image courtesy of Pelamis

An artist’s rendering of the Pelamis wave energy devices.

Virtual Hydropower Prospector Developed by the Idaho National Laboratory, this online geographic information system (GIS) tool is designed to assist in locating and assessing natural stream water energy resources in the United States. Users can view data regarding hydropower projects across the United States including:

ƒƒWater Energy Resource Sites ƒƒPotential Projects ƒƒHydrography ƒƒPower Systems ƒƒTransportation

The Virtual Hydropower Prospector:

ƒƒAreas and Places ƒƒLand Use

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


History of Hydropower Timeline



Hydropower used by the Greeks to turn water wheels for grinding grains more than 2,000 years ago.


French hydraulic and military engineer Bernard Forest de Bélidor wrote Architecture Hydraulique, a fourvolume work describing vertical- and horizontal-axis machines.


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers founded, with establishment of Chief Engineer for the Continental Army.


Michigan’s Grand Rapids Electric Light and Power Company, generating electricity by a dynamo belted to a water turbine at the Wolverine Chair Factory, lit up 16 brush-arc lamps.


Niagara Falls city street lamps powered by hydropower.


World’s first hydroelectric power plant began operation on the Fox River in Appleton, WI.


About 45 water-powered electric plants in the U.S. and Canada.


San Bernardino, CA opens first hydroelectric plant in the West.


Two hundred power plants in the U.S. use hydropower for some or all generation.


First Federal Water Power Act. No one could build or operate a hydropower plant on a stream large enough for boat traffic without special permission from Congress.


U.S. Bureau of Reclamation established.


Hydropower provided 15 percent of U.S. electricity generation.


Hydropower provided 25 percent of U.S. electricity generation. Federal Power Act establishes Federal Power Commission authority to issue licenses for hydro development on public lands.


Tennessee Valley Authority was established, taking charge of hydropower potential of the Tennessee River and its tributaries.


Federal Power Commission authority extended to all hydropower projects built by utilities engaged in interstate commerce.


Hoover Dam began operating on the Colorado River. Using multiple Francis turbines, the Hoover Dam plant produces up to 130,000 kilowatts of power.


Bonneville Dam, the first federal dam, begins operation on the Columbia River. Bonneville Power Administration established.


Hydropower provided forty percent of the nation’s electricity generation. Conventional capacity tripled in United States since 1920.


Federal Power Commission disbanded by Congress. A new agency was created, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).


Conventional hydropower plant capacity nearly tripled in United States since 1940.


Between 5–10 percent of U.S. electricity comes from hydropower, depending on water supply. In total, the U.S. has about 78,000 MW of conventional capacity and 20,500 MW of pumped storage capacity.

Energy of Moving Water

Careers in the Hydropower Industry Energy Industry Analysts assess the significance of developments and trends in the energy industry and use this information for current and future regulatory policies. Energy industry analysts require a degree in finance, management, or other business, industrial, mechanical, or other engineering field. Accountants establish accounting policy, providing guidance to energy companies for reporting issues. Auditors review financial information about energy companies to ensure they are in compliance with government regulations. Accountants and auditors require a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Administrators provide general office clerical support to professional, program, or technical staff members utilizing typing skills and a knowledge of office automation hardware and software systems. Administrative support staff may be responsible for timekeeping, government procedures, and other personnel matters. Communications Professionals must possess excellent writing and speaking skills, a customer service attitude, and the ability to respond quickly in a dynamic environment. Communications professionals require a bachelor’s degree in communications or English. Economists closely follow and analyze trends in the various energy industries to make sure a healthy competitive market is in place. They consult with experts in energy economics, market design, anti-trust, and other issues, and use economic theory on real-world problems and situations. Economists require a bachelor’s degree in economics. Hydrologists research the distribution, circulation, and physical properties of underground and surface waters, and study the form and intensity of precipitation, its rate of infiltration into the soil, movement through the earth, and its return to the oceans and atmosphere. Hydrologists apply scientific knowledge and mathematical principles to solve water-related problems in society—problems of quantity, quality, and availability. They may be concerned with finding water supplies for cities and irrigated farms, or controlling river flooding and soil erosion. They may also work in environmental protection— preventing or cleaning up pollution and locating sites for safe disposal of hazardous wastes. The work of hydrologists is as varied as the uses of water and may range from planning multimillion dollar interstate water projects to advising homeowners about backyard drainage problems. A bachelor’s degree is adequate for entry-level positions. Students who plan to become hydrologists should take courses in the physical sciences, geophysics, chemistry, engineering science, soil science, mathematics, computer science, aquatic biology, atmospheric science, geology, oceanography, hydrogeology, and the management or conservation of water resources. In addition, some background in economics, public finance, environmental law, and government policy is needed to communicate with experts in these fields. Information Technology Specialists do systems programming, offthe-shelf software management, database administration, network and telecommunications operations/administration, security implementation, disaster recovery, electronic filing, and customer

service support. Information technology specialists require a bachelor’s degree in information technology. Power Plant Operators control machinery that makes electric power. They control and monitor boilers, turbines, and generators and adjust controls to distribute power demands among the generators. They also monitor the instruments that regulate the flow of electricity from the plant. When power needs change, they start or stop the generators and connect or disconnect them from the circuits. Many operators use computers to keep records of switching operations, to track the loads on generators and lines, and to prepare reports of unusual incidents, malfunctions, or repairs that occur during their shift. Power Distributors and Dispatchers operate equipment that controls the flow of electricity from a power plant through transmission lines to substations that supply customers’ needs. They operate converters, transformers, and circuit breakers. Dispatchers monitor the equipment and record readings at a pilot board—a map of the transmission grid system. It shows the status of circuits and connections with substations and industrial plants. Dispatchers also anticipate power needs, such as those caused by changes in the weather. They call control room operators to start or stop boilers and generators. They also handle emergencies such as line failures and route electricity around the affected areas. In addition, dispatchers operate and monitor the equipment in substations. They step up or step down voltage and operate switchboard levers, which control the flow of power in and out of the substations. Civil Engineers make site visits, prepare engineering studies, and design or evaluate various types of hydroelectric dams, powerhouses, and other project structures. They develop graphs, charts, tables, and statistical curves relating to these studies for inclusion in environmental impact statements and assessments and dam safety reports. Civil engineers require a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Environmental Engineers of proposed hydroelectric projects review environmental reports and exhibits. A main component of the job is to study aspects of environmental impact issues, determine the scope of the problem, and propose recommendations to protect the environment. They perform studies to determine the potential impact of changes on the environment. Environmental engineers require a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Electrical Engineers design and develop electrical systems and equipment, evaluate electrical systems, and ensure stability and reliability. Electrical engineers require a bachelor’s degree in engineering. Hydropower Engineers work with teams of environmental scientists and engineers to review, analyze, and resolve engineering and environmental issues associated with proposals to construct and operate hydroelectric projects, including major dams, reservoirs, and power plants. Hydropower engineers require a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Hydropower Resources and Career Information U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation Explore the Hoover Dam. Learn how the dam was built, view construction era photographs, and learn how the dam operates as one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the country. The site includes educational resources for teachers.

CareerOneStop Use this site to explore green careers, find resume templates, compare various occupations, and learn what’s hot in different industries.

U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Visit the Students’ Corner to learn more about hydropower. This web site includes games and photos of dams and hydropower plants.

Foundation for Water and Energy Education Watch a video of hydroelectric power production, take a virtual tour of a hydroelectric plant and a generator, and learn how a hydroelectric project can affect a river.

Idaho National Laboratory Has extensive information about hydropower and new technologies.

National Hydropower Association Covers basic information about hydropower in all of its forms, both conventional and new technologies as well as hydropower issues as they relate to legislative and regulatory issues. The web site also includes many links to other hydropower resources and is a great place to start for everything that is hydro.

PBS: Building Big After learning about the different types of dams, take the dam challenge. As a consulting dam engineer, you decide whether to repair, take down, or leave alone several different dams.

Energy Information Administration Up-to-date data and information on all energy sources, including hydropower.

Hydro Research Foundation An excellent resource that explores all aspects of hydropower using real life photos.

Dams Contribute to Other Employment When Hoover Dam (near Boulder City, Nevada) was built on the Colorado River, it created two huge lakes—Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Together, they form the Lake Mead Reservoir, which offers almost unlimited water-based recreation on a yearround basis, catering to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, and fishermen. National Park Rangers working at Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA), part of the National Park Service, are responsible for visitors’ safety. The National Park Service employs over 20,000 people in both seasonal and permanent positions. For more information on working as a National Park Ranger, visit The Army Corps of Engineers operates Summersville Dam as a flood control project on the Gauley River in West Virginia. The Summersville Reservoir is a center for powerboat recreation during the summer, but at the end of the season the Corps must lower the lake 75 feet to make room for the next spring’s floods. In addition to the people who work directly with the power plant, dam, and reservoir, the Gauley River provides jobs for the local economy. Small business owners run specialty sporting goods stores and white water rafting and kayaking expeditions. Store managers and salespeople run these businesses. Raft guides lead groups of rafters and kayakers down the river, and shuttle bus/van drivers transport customers to drop-off and pick-up points.


Image courtesy of National Park Service

National Park Service rangers care for and protect some of America’s favorite places. They help visitors enjoy and appreciate the nearly 400 national parks, monuments, memorials, seashores, and historic sites across the country.

Energy of Moving Water


KWL Organizer for Energy

What I Think I Know

What I Want to Know

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029

What I Learned


KWL Organizer for Electricity What I Think I Know


What I Want to Know

What I Learned

Energy of Moving Water

KWL Organizer for Water What I Think I Know

What I Want to Know

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029

What I Learned



Presentation Topic Organizer Important Information

Additional Information Needed

Topic Graphics Needed


Design of Presentation

Energy of Moving Water


Forms and Sources of Energy

In the United States we use a variety of resources to meet our energy needs.



Using the graphic below, determine how energy is stored or delivered in each of the sources of energy. Remember, if the source of energy must be burned, the energy is stored as chemical energy.






Natural Gas


Hydropower _______________________






Geothermal _______________________




_______________________ _______________________ _______________________

Look at the U.S. Energy Consumption by Source graphic below and calculate the percentage of the nation’s energy use that each form of energy provides.

What percentage of the nation’s energy is provided by each form of energy?

U.S. Energy Consumption by Source, 2011









Uses: transportation, manufacturing



What percentage of the nation’s energy is provided by renewables? ______ By nonrenewables? ______












Uses: heating, manufacturing, electricity Uses: electricity, manufacturing


Uses: heating, electricity, transportation Uses: electricity

Uses: electricity









Uses: electricity

Uses: heating, manufacturing

Uses: heating, electricity

Uses: heating, electricity

Data: Energy Information Administration

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029



U.S. Energy Flow, 2011

1. Fill in the blank boxes on the 2011 Energy Flow diagram. 2. Draw and label a pie chart of 2011 Energy Production. 3. Draw and label a pie chart of 2011 Energy Consumption.


Consumption Petroleum 5.90Q

Coal 22.18Q

Other Exports 4.45Q

Exports 10.36Q

Natural Gas 23.51Q

Fossil Fuels 60.61Q

Crude Oil 11.99Q

Residential 21.62Q

Coal 19.64Q Domestic Production 78.11Q Total Supply 107.67Q

Fossil Fuels 79.78Q

Natural Gas 24.84Q Consumption (total demand) 97.30Q

Natural Gas Plant Liquids 2.93Q Petroleum 35.28Q

Nuclear Electric Power 8.26Q

Renewable Energy 9.24Q

Petroleum 24.49Q

Other Imports 4.10Q

Imports 28.59Q

Commercial 18.02Q

Nuclear Electric Power Renewable Energy



Industrial 30.59Q

Transportation 27.08Q

Stock Change and Other .97Q

Data: U.S. Energy Information Administration/Annual Energy Review

2011 Energy Production


2011 Energy Consumption

Energy of Moving Water

U.S. Electricity Flow, 2011 1. Fill in the blank boxes on the 2011 Electricity Flow diagram. 2. Draw and label a pie chart of 2011 Electricity Production. 3. Draw and label a pie chart of 2011 Electricity Consumption.


4. On a separate piece of paper, write a paragraph explaining conversion losses.

Coal 18.04Q

Fossil Fuels 26.47Q Petroleum 0.29Q Other Gases 0.09Q

Natural Gas 8.05Q

Energy Consumed to Generate Electricity 40.03Q

Conversions Losses 25.21Q

Plant Use 0.81Q T & D Losses 1.04Q

Nuclear Electric Power 8.26Q

Renewable Energy 5.14Q

Other 0.16Q

Gross Generation of Electricity 14.82Q

Net Generation of Electricity 14.01Q

Unaccounted for 0.06Q Net Imports of Electricity 0.13Q

Residential 4.86Q End Use 13.16Q

Commercial 4.50Q Industrial 3.33Q

Data: Energy Information Administration/Annual Energy Review

2011 Electricity Production

Transportation 0.03Q Direct Use 0.44Q

2011 Electricity Consumption

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Atomic Structure , that

Below is an atom of magnesium (Mg). Magnesium is a silvery white metal that has 12 protons, 12 electrons, and 12 neutrons. Number the words on the left with the correct part of the atom in the diagram.

, that

insideinside energy levellevel energy

outside energy level

outside energy level

- 24


- 24

Draw the protons, neutrons, and electrons on the atoms below. Be sure to put the electrons in the correct energy levels. Lithium has three protons and four neutrons. Nitrogen has seven protons and seven neutrons.


Lithium-7 - 7

Nitrogen-14- 14 Energy of Moving Water

Measuring Electricity: Sample Calculations Example 1: Calculating Voltage If household current is 6 amps and the resistance of an appliance is 20 ohms, calculate the voltage. To solve for voltage, use the following equation: voltage = current x resistance (V = I x R).

Voltage = A x Ω V = 6 A x 20 Ω = 120 V

Example 2: Calculating Current The voltage of most residential circuits is 120 volts. If we turn on a lamp with a resistance of 60 ohms, what current would be required? To solve for current, use the following equation: current = voltage / resistance (I = V / R).

Current = V / Ω I = 120 V / 60 Ω = 2 A

Example 3: Calculating Resistance A car has a 12-volt battery. If the car radio requires 0.5 amps of current, what is the resistance of the radio? To solve for resistance, use the following equation: resistance = voltage / current (R = V / I).

Resistance = V / A R = 12 V / 0.5 A = 24 Ω

Example 4: Calculating Power If a 6-volt battery pushes 2 amps of current through a light bulb, how much power does the light bulb require? To solve for power, use the following equation: power = voltage x current (P = V x I).

Power = V x A P = 6 V x 2 A = 12 W

Example 5: Calculating Voltage If a 3-amp blender uses 360 watts of power, what is the voltage from the outlet? To solve for voltage, use the following equation: voltage = power / current (V = P / I).

Voltage = W / A V = 360 W / 3 A = 120 V

Example 6: Calculating Current If a refrigerator uses power at a rate of 600 watts when connected to a 120-volt outlet, how much current is required to operate the refrigerator? To solve for current, use the following equation: current = power / voltage (I = P / V).

Current = W / V I = 600 W / 120 V = 5 A

Example 7: Calculating Electrical Energy and Cost If a refrigerator uses power at a rate of 600 watts for 24 hours, how much electrical energy does it use in kWh? To solve for electrical energy, use the following equation: energy = power x time (E = P x t).

Electrical Energy = W x h E = 600 W x 24 h = 14,400 Wh x 1 kW = 14.4 kWh 1,000 W If the utility charges $0.12 a kilowatt-hour, how much does it cost to run the refrigerator for 24 hours? To calculate cost, use the following equation: cost = energy x price.

Cost = 14.4 kWh x $0.12/kWh = $1.73 ©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Measuring Electricity TABLE 1 VOLTAGE





1.5 V


______ A



______ V





120 V




______ Ω

240 V


______ A


12 Ω






27 W




______ A

______ W


120 V


1.5 A

45 W


______ V



______ W


120 V











180 W


120 V


______ A


40 W


120 V


______ A


120 W


120 V


______ A


1,000 W


120 V


______ A







5 kW


100 h


25 kW



1,000 W










$ 0.12


$ ______




$ 0.12


$ ______




$ 0.12


$ ______


Energy of Moving Water

The Water Cycle Draw a diagram of the water cycle. Include arrows and labels to identify each step of the cycle. On the lines below, write a paragraph describing how the water cycle works. You may use the words in the word bank as labels and in your written explanation.

Word Bank condensation liquid evaporation ocean lake cloud river gravity solar energy atmosphere gas precipitation water vapor water

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Science of Electricity Model Observe the science of electricity model. Draw and label the parts of this model. On the lines below, explain how electricity is generated.


Energy of Moving Water

Magnets and Compasses Did you know the Earth is a giant magnet? The North Pole of the Earth is like the north pole of a magnet, and the South Pole of the Earth is like the south pole of a magnet. The whole Earth has a magnetic field around it. The needle of a compass always points to the north because the needle is a magnet, too. You can turn an ordinary needle into a magnet by stroking it with a magnet—rearranging the molecules in the needle. You can demagnetize the needle by dropping or striking it several times.

? Question  What are the properties of magnets?

 Hypothesis

 Materials ƒ2 ƒ Bar magnets ƒNeedle ƒ ƒWood ƒ disk ƒSmall ƒ dish with water ƒCompass ƒ ƒPaper ƒ clips ƒTape ƒ

Procedure 1. Hold the needle firmly on the end with the eye. Hold one end of a bar magnet with your other hand. Stroke the needle from the eye to the pointed end—in one direction only—about 25 times. 2. Tape the needle to the wood disk, and float it in the water in your dish with the needle on top. Observe the direction that the needle points. Compare it to the direction of the needle of the compass. The compass needle will always point north. 3. Examine the two bar magnets. Try to push the north (N) poles of the bar magnets together, then the two south (S) poles. Now place the N pole of one magnet next to the S pole of the other. Observe how the magnets attract and repel each other. 4. Put the paper clips in a pile. See how many paper clips the N pole of one bar magnet can lift. Now try the S pole. Try the other bar magnet to determine if it has the same force as the first. See if a magnet can lift as many paper clips end to end as it can if the paper clips are bunched together. 5. Place both bar magnets in a stack, N pole to S pole. See how many paper clips the magnets together can lift.

 Observations and Data Record observations and data in your science notebook.

 Conclusion 1. What are the properties of magnets? 2. Which end of the needle in your dish is the N pole? How do you know? What would happen if you stroked the needle in the other direction? Why do you think this? 3. Do you think the paper clips became magnetized to lift other paper clips? Why or why not?

PAGE 44 ©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029

Energy of Moving Water S


Magnetic Fields Every magnet produces a field of force around it. This magnetic field attracts certain materials, such as some metals. It can also affect the direction of a compass needle. The magnetic field demonstrator holds small pieces of iron—a metal that is attracted to a magnet—suspended in liquid.

? Question  Are all magnetic fields arranged the same way?

 Hypothesis

 Materials ƒ2 ƒ Bar magnets ƒ1 ƒ Horseshoe magnet ƒ1 ƒ Ring magnet ƒ4 ƒ Compasses ƒ1 ƒ Magnetic field demonstrator ƒƒWhite paper

Procedure 1. Arrange four compasses around a bar magnet. Using the diagram above, place the compasses at the positions marked as 1. Each compass should be far enough away from the magnet so that the compasses do not move toward the magnet. Make a diagram of the magnet and compasses, showing the N and S poles of the magnet and the direction that each compass needle points. Do the same placing the compasses at the 2 positions. 2. Arrange compasses in similar ways around the horseshoe magnet, then around the ring magnet, and make diagrams of these too. 3. Shake the magnetic field demonstrator (MFD). Place a bar magnet on white paper and place the MFD on top of it. Observe the pattern of the iron filings. Make a diagram of the magnetic field of the magnet, as shown by the iron filings. 4. Shake the MFD. Place both bar magnets together on white paper with N and S poles together. Place the MFD on top of the magnets. Make a diagram of the magnetic field produced by the two magnets. 5. Shake the MFD and place it on the horseshoe magnet. Make a diagram of its magnetic field. 6. Shake the MFD and place it on the ring magnet. See if the magnetic field changes if you turn the ring magnet over. Draw a diagram of the magnetic field of the ring magnet.

 Observations and Data Record diagrams of the magnetic fields you observe in your science notebook. Be sure to label the north and south poles of each magnet.

 Conclusion 1. Do your diagrams of the compasses and the iron filings for each of the magnets give you the same information? Compare them and see what you discover. 2. Which magnet has a magnetic field most like that of the Earth? Draw a diagram showing what the magnetic field of the Earth might look like.


Energy of Moving Water

© 2009 THE NEED PROJECT • PO BOX 10101 • MANASSAS, VA 20108 • 1-800-875-5029

Energy of Moving Water Student


Electromagnets 1 ? Question  What happens when you wrap a wire around a nail and connect the wire to a battery?

 Hypothesis

2 Preparation Check to see if the nail is magnetized by moving it over the compass. Does the needle of the compass move? If it moves, tap or drop the nail on the floor several times and recheck.

 Materials ƒ1 ƒ Piece of coated copper wire (1 meter long) ƒ1 ƒ Large iron nail ƒ1 ƒ 9-Volt battery ƒ1 ƒ Compass ƒPaper ƒ clips

! Safety  If the wire begins to feel hot during the experiments, detach it from the battery and allow it to cool before resuming the experiments.

Procedure 1. Move the wire over the compass. Observe any movement of the compass needle. Does the compass detect a magnetic field around the wire? Record your observations in your science notebook. 2. Wrap the middle of the wire around the nail 10 times, as shown in the picture above. Do not let the wires cross or touch each other; wrap the wire as if it were a spring. 3. Wrap the ends of the wire around the metal contacts on top of the battery to make a closed circuit, as shown in the picture at the top of the page. 4. Move the compass near the wire wrapped nail. Observe any movement of the compass needle. Does the wrapped nail act like a magnet? Has the nail wrapped with wire become an electromagnet? Record your observations. 5. Place a pile of paper clips on the table. Touch the nail to the paper clips and lift. See how many paper clips the nail can lift. Record the data. 6. Carefully remove the nail from the coil of wire. See if the coil of wire can lift paper clips without the nail inside. Is the coil of wire an electromagnet? Record the data and observations. 7. Move the compass over the nail. Did the nail become magnetized?

 Observations and Data Record your observations in your science notebook.

 Conclusion 1. When you wrapped the wire around the nail, you organized the magnetic field of the electrons flowing through the wire. Did the nail also become a magnet while it was in the wire? Why or why not? 2. Is the coiled wire connected to a battery an electromagnet without the nail inside? How do you know? ©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Electromagnets 2 ? Question  What variables affect the force of an electromagnet?

 Hypothesis

 Materials ƒ1 ƒ Piece of copper wire ƒ1 ƒ Large iron nail

ƒ1 ƒ Small iron nail ƒ1 ƒ 9-Volt battery

ƒ1 ƒ 1.5-Volt D-battery ƒPaper ƒ clips

! Safety  If the wire begins to feel hot, detach it from the battery and allow it to cool before resuming the experiments.

Procedure 1. Wrap the middle of the wire around the large nail 10 times, like a spring. Do not allow the wire coils to cross or touch each other. 2. Attach the wire to the 9-volt battery terminals by wrapping each end around a metal contact, as shown in the picture. 3. Place a pile of paper clips on the table. Touch the nail to the paper clips and lift. Record the data and your observations in your science notebook, or in the charts below. 4. Remove the ends of the wire from the battery. Wrap the wire around the large nail 10 more times, for a total of 20 coils, ensuring each coil does not touch or cross another. Reattach the wire to the 9-volt battery. Repeat step 3. 5. Remove the ends of the wire from the 9-volt battery. Have someone hold each end of the wire to a terminal (end) of the 1.5-volt battery. Repeat step 3. 6. Remove 10 coils from the large nail and hold the wire ends to the 1.5-volt battery terminals. Repeat step 3. 7. Remove the large nail from the coil of wire and insert the small nail, tightening the coils, as needed. Hold the wire ends to the 1.5-volt battery terminals. Repeat step 3. 8. Wrap 10 more coils of wire around the small nail. Check to make sure they are not touching or crossing each other. Hold the wire ends to the 1.5-volt battery terminals. Repeat step 3.

 Observations and Data Create these data tables in your science notebook. Large iron nail, 1.5-volt battery

Large iron nail, 9-volt battery NUMBER OF WIRE WRAPS








Small iron nail, 1.5-volt battery NUMBER OF WIRE WRAPS


10 20

 Conclusion 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.


Which combination of variables allowed you to pick up the most paper clips? How does the number of coils affect the strength of an electromagnet? How does the voltage of the battery affect the strength of an electromagnet? How does the size of the nail in the coil affect the strength of the electromagnet? What would you do to build a very strong electromagnet? Energy of Moving Water

History of Hydropower What do you consider the three most important milestones in the history of hydropower and why? Explain in short paragraphs. 1.



©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Dams and Their Uses Explain in complete sentences the major reasons that dams are built. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Describe in complete sentences the major types of dams. 1. 2. 3. 4. Explain the difference between a dam and a hydropower plant.

Explain how a hydropower plant generates electricity.

Research assignment: Research and write a paragraph about dams in your state.


Energy of Moving Water

Effect of Volume on the Force of Water ? Question  What effect does the volume of water have on the water’s force?

 Materials ƒ1 ƒ 2-Liter soda bottle ƒ1 ƒ Ruler ƒ1 ƒ Push pin ƒ1 ƒ Wallpaper pan ƒƒTowel or paper towels ƒƒPermanent marker ƒƒWater supply ƒƒDuct tape

2 Preparation ƒUse ƒ the ruler to measure from the bottom of the bottle to 5 cm. Mark this spot with a dot, and also mark a line horizontally across the bottle at this height. Continue marking straight up every 5 cm, and horizontally at each mark until you reach 20 cm.

20 cm

ƒUse ƒ the push pin to make a hole at the 5 cm mark only. Put a piece of duct tape over the hole. ƒRead ƒ the procedure. Record your hypothesis on the next page, or in your scienec notebook before completing your investigations.


15 cm

1. Fill the bottle with water to the 20 cm mark. 2. Place the bottle in the wallpaper pan with the hole pointing into the pan. Place the ruler at the base of the bottle and make marks on the bottom of the pan at each 2 cm increment until you reach the end of the pan. 3. Remove the duct tape and immediately measure the distance the water projects out from the hole. Cover the hole with your finger.

10 cm

4. Record the distance in your table. 5. Repeat steps 1-4 two more times for a total of three trials. 6. Repeat steps 1-4 three times filling the bottle to 15 cm. Record your data with each trial.

5 cm

7. Repeat steps 1-4 three times filling the bottle to 10 cm. Record your data with each trial. 8. Repeat steps 1-4 three times filling the bottle to 5 cm. Record your data with each trial.


©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Effect of Volume on the Force of Water

? Question  What effect does the volume of water have on the water’s force?

 Hypothesis

 Observations and Data Record your data in the table below.






 Conclusion Was your hypothesis correct? Why or why not? What is the effect of the volume of water on the water’s force? Use data to support your answer.


Energy of Moving Water

Effect of Penstock Height on the Force of Water ? Question  What is the relationship between the penstock height and the force of water?

 Materials ƒ1 ƒ 2-Liter soda bottle from previous investigation ƒ1 ƒ Push pin ƒ1 ƒ Wallpaper pan ƒTowel ƒ or paper towels ƒWater ƒ supply ƒDuct ƒ tape

2 Preparation ƒMake ƒ sure the outside of the bottle is dry. ƒUsing ƒ the push pin, make holes at the 10 cm, 15 cm, and 20 cm marks. Cover each hole with a piece of duct tape. ƒRead ƒ the procedure. Write your hypothesis on the next page or in your science notebook before completing your investigation.

20 cm

Procedure 1. Fill the bottle with water to the 20 cm line. 2. Place the bottle at one end of the wallpaper pan with the holes pointing into the pan. 3. Remove the duct tape from the 5 cm hole and immediately measure the distance the water projects from the hole. Record the results on your data table. 4. Cover the hole with your finger, refill the bottle with water to the 20 cm line and place back in the pan. Uncover the hole and measure the distance the water projects again. Record your results. Repeat once more for a total of three trials. 5. Empty the bottle and dry the outside. Tape the hole again.

15 cm

10 cm

6. Follow steps 1-5 again for the 10 cm, 15 cm, and 20 cm holes.

5 cm


©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Effect of Penstock Height on the Force of Water

? Question  What is the relationship between the penstock height and the force of water?

 Hypothesis

 Observations and Data Record your data in the table below.

Penstock Height

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3


 Conclusion Was your hypothesis correct? Why or why not? What is the relationship between penstock height and the force of water? Use data to support your answer.


Energy of Moving Water

Reflection Think about what you learned from your two investigations about the force of water. How does what you learned help you understand how hydroelectric power plants work? What would the ideal conditions be to get the most energy out of the water when designing a dam? Use words and diagrams to explain your thinking.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Turbine Assembly Instructions  Materials ƒ1 ƒ Rectangular plastic jug ƒ1 ƒ Motor ƒ3 ƒ Pieces double-sided tape ƒ1 ƒ Hub ƒ1 ƒ Pair scissors

ƒ1 ƒ Nail ƒSafety ƒ glasses ƒ12 ƒ Wooden dowels ƒ12 ƒ Wooden spoons ƒGlue ƒ

! Safety  ƒBe ƒ careful when using sharp scissors to cut through plastic. ƒUse ƒ safety glasses. ƒFollow ƒ all safety rules.

Procedure 1. Carefully cut the bottom off the jug with the scissors (Diagram 1). 2. Use the nail to make a hole in the center of one side of the jug as shown in Diagram 1. From the outside of the jug, insert the shaft of the motor through the hole. Make sure the shaft can rotate freely. Use the nail to widen the hole if necessary. 3. Inside the jug, insert the shaft of the motor into the hub. Make sure the hub can rotate freely. Remove the hub and motor. 4. Place the jug on its side with the hole facing upward. Place the double-sided tape around the hole as shown in Diagram 2. Insert the shaft of the motor into the hole in the jug, holding the motor firmly against the jug so the motor sticks firmly to the jug. 5. Place 4 dowels evenly spaced in the hub. Cut a spoon so that it fits in the jug and does not hit the sides as the hub rotates. Glue the spoon to the dowel and allow to dry. Repeat process to make 12 identical blades. Only four will be used in the first activity to start.


Energy of Moving Water

Reservoir Unit Instructions 1. Examine the water reservoir unit. Place one end of the tubing onto the end of the screwtop dispenser. 2. To fill the unit with water, place the unit with the opening on top and the spout lifted. Fill the unit completely with water. Screw the top securely on and make sure the valve is closed on the dispenser. 3. Lift the hose above the reservoir unit, slightly open the valve and put pressure on the unit to remove any air pockets at the top of the unit. Close the valve. 4. Place the unit on its side with the spout near the bottom when conducting all experiments, as shown in Diagram 1. Make sure there are no air pockets in the unit when you place it on its side to conduct the experiments. 5. Make sure there are no kinks in the hose when conducting experiments. 6. When conducting the experiments, rotate the valve to open and close and to ensure a constant rate of flow. Unscrew the dispenser to refill the unit. 7. Make sure the water from the hose hits the blades of the hub as shown in Diagram 2. 8. After each trial, use the funnel to pour the water from the bucket back into the unit. If necessary, add more water so that the unit is completely full.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Electricity Meter Directions Multimeters and voltmeters are two tools used to measure electricity. The multimeter allows you to measure current, resistance, and voltage, and displays the reading numerically. The voltmeter measures voltage only, but displays a visual reading as higher electrical outputs illuminate more lights. When using either meter it should be noted that some measurements will never “stay still” at a single repeatable value. This is the nature of the variables being monitored in some circumstances. For example, if you were to measure the resistance between your two hands with the ohmmeter setting on the multimeter (megohm range—millions of ohms), you would find that the values would continuously change. How tightly you squeeze the metal probes and how “wet” or “dry” your skin is can have a sizable effect on the reading that you obtain. In this situation you need a protocol or standardized method to allow you to record data. We recommend that you discuss with your class the variability of measurement and let them come up with a standard for collecting data. They may decide to go with the lowest reading, the highest reading, or the reading that appears most frequently in a certain time period.

Digital Multimeter

Visual Voltmeter

Directions: DC VOLTAGE


1. Connect RED lead to VΩmA jack and BLACK to COM.

2. Press down on the “GND” button. Insert one wire from the turbine into the hole on the bottom. Release the button to secure the wire in place.

2. Set ROTARY SWITCH to highest setting on DC VOLTAGE scale (1000). 3. Connect leads to the device to be tested using the alligator clips provided. 4. Adjust ROTARY SWITCH to lower settings until a satisfactory reading is obtained. 5. With the hydropower turbine, usually the 20 DCV setting provides the best reading.

DC Current (must include a load in the circuit) NOT NEEDED FOR THIS ACTIVITY 1. Connect RED lead to VΩmA jack and BLACK to COM.

1. Switch the tab over to 5V.

3. Repeat step two with the other wire on the “V+ Input” side. 4. Turn on the voltmeter. 5. Place the turbine under the water flow. The lights on the voltmeter will light indicating how much electricity is being generated.


2. Set ROTARY SWITCH to 10 ADC setting.

ƒƒIf the “Reverse Polarity” light flashes, switch the wires in the “GND” and “V+ Input” locations.

3. Connect leads to the device to be tested using the alligator clips provided. Note: The reading indicates DC AMPS; a reading of 0.25 amps equals 250 mA (milliamps).

ƒƒThe voltmeter’s lowest reading is 0.25 volts. If you do not see any lights, connect the turbine to the multimeter for smaller readings.



Energy of Moving Water

Exploring Turbine Blades ? Question  How do the number of blades on a turbine affect electrical output?

 Hypothesis Record your hypothesis in your science notebook.

 Materials At the Testing Station:

ƒAssembled ƒ turbine ƒMeter ƒ stick ƒWater ƒ ƒHub ƒ ƒ12 ƒ Blades

ƒReservoir ƒ unit ƒBucket ƒ ƒMultimeter ƒ ƒAlligator ƒ clips ƒFunnel ƒ ƒStopwatch ƒ or watch with second hand ƒMeter ƒ stick


1. Attach the hub with four blades to the motor. Attach the multimeter leads to the ends of the motor wires with the alligator clips. Set meter to 200mV. 2. Place the turbine in the bucket with the wide opening at the top. Fill the water reservoir unit and place it on a table about 50 cm higher than the top of bucket. Pinch the hose together and open the valve. 3. Holding the end of the hose at the top of the turbine jug, allow the water to flow. Point the hose so that the water flows on the blades for 10 seconds and record the most consistent output reading. Empty the bucket back into the water reservoir unit using the funnel. 4. Measure and record the electrical output two more times in the data table. Calculate the average output. 5. Repeat the steps 2-4 with 6 and 12 blades. Make sure the position of the hose remains constant.

 Observations and Data NUMBER OF BLADES 4 6 12





 Conclusion Explain why you think the number of blades affects the output of the turbine, using data to support your reasoning.

! Benchmark  Use the hub containing the number of blades with the highest electrical output as your benchmark hub for the next exploration. Be sure to set up the blades exactly as you had done above.

 Extension Design different shaped blades or blades with different materials. Test how the new blades affect electricity output.

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Exploring Reservoir Height ? Question  How does the height of a reservoir affect the electrical output of a turbine?

 Hypothesis Record your hypothesis in your science notebook.

 Materials ƒTurbine ƒ with benchmark hub (from previous exploration) ƒReservoir ƒ unit ƒBucket ƒ ƒMultimeter ƒ ƒAlligator ƒ clips ƒWater ƒ supply ƒFunnel ƒ ƒMeter ƒ stick ƒStopwatch ƒ or watch with second hand

2 Preparation Attach the benchmark hub to the motor. Attach the multimeter to the ends of the motor wires with alligator clips. Set meter to 200 mV.

Procedure 1. Place the turbine into the water collection bucket. 2. Fill the water reservoir unit and position the bottom of the unit 30 cm above the top of the bucket. 3. Position the hose at the top of the jug so that the water will flow onto the blades. 4. Allow the water to flow for 10 seconds and record the most consistent output reading. 5. Refill the reservoir unit with water from the bucket. Make sure the reservoir unit is completely filled. 6. Repeat Steps 1-5 two more times. Calculate the average output and record it in the table. 7. Repeat Steps 1-6 at reservoir heights of 65 and 100 centimeters.

 Observations and Data HEIGHT OF RESERVOIR





30 cm 65 cm 100 cm Graph your results with your manipulated variable (height of the reservoir) on the X-axis (horizontal).

 Conclusion Explain which height is most effective in converting the energy in flowing water into electricity and why, using data to support your reasoning.


Energy of Moving Water

Teaching About Your Turbine 1. Explain how the turbine unit generated electricity, and how energy flows through the system.

2. List five ways you could change the design of the turbine unit to increase its efficiency.






3. What characteristics of a river would be most important in determining whether it is suitable for a hydropower dam?

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


The Future of Hydropower 1. Which new hydropower technology do you think will generate the most electricity in the future?

2. Explain how the technology generates electricity using words and diagrams.

3. Explain why you think it is the most promising new technology.


Energy of Moving Water

Resumé Name: Contact information:



Related Experience:



©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


Issue Organizer Advantages of Actions

Disadvantages of Actions

Scenario: _____________________ Stakeholder: __________________ Position and Three Reasons


Facts to Support Reasons

Energy of Moving Water





ampere (amp)

a measurement of electric current

arch dam

a concrete, masonry, or timber dam with the alignment curved upstream


the most basic unit of matter

atomic mass

the average mass of one atom of an element

atomic number

the number of protons in one atom of an element

baseload power

the minimum amount of power a utility company must make available to its customer

buttress dam

a dam consisting of a watertight part supported at intervals on the downstream side by a series of buttresses


a watertight support structure for an underwater turbine array designed to capture the energy in the tides


the path of electric current


a temporary dam structure enclosing all or part of a construction area so that construction can be performed; a diversion cofferdam diverts a stream into a pipe, channel, tunnel, or other watercourse

conventional hydropower plant

a facility that uses available water from rivers, streams, canals, and reservoirs to produce electricity


the highest point of a wave


a barrier constructed across a waterway to control the flow or raise the level of water

diversion project

a hydropower facility that does not require a dam but instead diverts river water from its course


a percentage obtained by dividing the actual power or energy by the theoretical power or energy; it represents how well a hydropower plant converts the energy of the moving water into electrical energy

electric current

the flow of electricity through a circuit


the relationship between electrical energy and magnetism


the particle in an atom that carries a negative electrical charge


most pure form of all matter, all matter is made of elements or combinations of elements

embankment dam

any dam constructed of excavated natural materials, such as dirt and rock, or of industrial waste materials


the ability to do work or make a change

energy level

area where electrons can be found; describes the probable amount of energy in an atom


the area of water at the mouth of a river

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)

the federal agency that licenses non-federal hydropower projects

fish ladder

a series of small pools arranged like stair steps that allow adult fish to bypass a dam

fixed device

a device that is anchored in one place


volume of water, expressed as cubic feet or cubic meters per second, passing a point in a given amount of time; the amount and speed of water entering a water wheel or turbine


a device that converts motion energy into electrical energy

gravity dam

a dam constructed of concrete and/or masonry that relies on its weight and internal strength for stability


vertical change in elevation, expressed in either feet or meters, between the head water level and the tail water level

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


hydrologic cycle

the water cycle; the complete cycle of water evaporating from the oceans, rivers, and lakes through the atmosphere to the land (precipitation) and back to bodies of water


the use of water to generate electricity

impoundment facility

a body of water formed by a dam, dike, floodgate, or other structure


atoms of the same element (same number of protons), but with differing numbers of neutrons


a unit of electric power equal to 1,000 watts

kilowatt hour

a measure of electricity defined as a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt of power expended for 1 hour

kinetic energy

the energy of motion


the part of an electric circuit that uses electricity to do work (a light bulb, for example)


material with pairs of non-canceling, spinning electrons that line up to form a magnetic field; magnetic materials are attracted to each other

magnetic field

the area of force around a magnet

navigation dam

a dam built to ensure water depth; allows for commercial barge and ship travel


a particle in the nucleus of an atom that has no charge

non-overflow dam

a dam that diverts water to spillways to control the pressure and potential energy of the dam

nonrenewable energy source

an energy source with a long term replenish rate and reserves that are limited, including petroleum, coal, natural gas, uranium, and propane


a measurement of resistance in an electric circuit

Ohm’s Law

the law that explains the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance in an electric circuit; in all electric circuits, the current (I) of that circuit is directly proportional to the voltage (V) applied to that circuit and inversely proportional to the resistance (R) of that same circuit

oscillating water column

a facility built into a cliff that captures wave energy

overflow dam

a dam that allows excess water to spill over its rim


a closed conduit or pipe for conducting water to a water wheel, turbine, or powerhouse


the time it takes for the crests of two concurrent waves to pass a stationary point

potential energy

stored energy; potential energy examples include chemical and gravitational potential energy


the rate at which electrical energy is produced or consumed

power plant

the equipment attached to a dam that generates electricity, including the turbines and generators


a particle in the nucleus of an atom that carries a positive electrical charge

pumped storage plant

a hydropower facility with two reservoirs (one higher than the other) used for peak generation; water from the lower reservoir is pumped into the higher reservoir to be stored until demand is high

renewable energy source

an energy source with a short term replenishment rate, including biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind


a natural or artificial pond or lake for storing and regulating water


the force that resists the flow of electricity in an electric circuit


a device with a set resistance that can be placed in circuits to reduce or control the current flow

run-of-river project

a hydropower facility with turbines placed in fast flowing sections of rivers to generate power without impeding the river’s natural flow

secondary source of energy

often called an energy carrier, secondary sources of energy require another source, like coal, to be converted for creation; electricity and hydrogen are examples


a channel for overflow of water from a reservoir

TAPCHAN system

a tapered channel facility built into a cliff that generates electricity from energy in the waves

tidal barrage

a facility built like a dam that allows the tides to power turbines and generate electricity


Energy of Moving Water

tidal bulge

the area of the Earth where the moon’s gravitational force creates high tides

tidal stream power

hydropower derived from swift, steady ocean currents


a stream or river that flows into another stream, river, or lake


the lowest point of a wave


a machine with a series of curved blades or buckets that converts the kinetic energy of a moving fluid to mechanical power

valence electron

an electron in the outer shell of an atom that can be pushed from its shell by a force


measure of electric potential or force


a measure of the pressure under which electricity flows through a circuit, measured in volts (V)


unit of measurement of electric power

©2013 The NEED Project P.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029


National Sponsors and Partners American Electric Power American Wind Energy Association Appalachian Regional Commission Arizona Public Service Arizona Science Center Arkansas Energy Office Armstrong Energy Corporation Association of Desk & Derrick Clubs Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania Barnstable County, Massachusetts Robert L. Bayless, Producer, LLC BP BP Alaska Blue Grass Energy Brady Trane Cape Light Compact–Massachusetts L.J. and Wilma Carr Center for Teacher Success Chabot Space and Science Center Chevron Chevron Energy Solutions Columbia Gas of Massachusetts ComEd ConEdison Solutions ConocoPhillips Constellation Daniel Math and Science Center David Petroleum Corporation Denver Public Schools DePaul University Desk and Derrick of Roswell, NM Dominion Duke Energy East Kentucky Power Eastern Kentucky University El Paso Corporation E.M.G. Oil Properties Encana Encana Cares Foundation Energy Education for Michigan Energy Training Solutions First Roswell Company FJ Management. Inc. Foundation for Environmental Education FPL The Franklin Institute Frontier Associates Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority Georgia Power Government of Thailand–Energy Ministry Green Power EMC Guam Energy Office Guilford County Schools – North Carolina Gulf Power

Harvard Petroleum Hawaii Energy Gerald Harrington, Geologist Houston Museum of Natural Science HoustonWorks Hydro Research Foundation Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation Independent Petroleum Association of America Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico Indiana Michigan Power Interstate Renewable Energy Council Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition Kentucky Department of Education Kentucky Department of Energy Development and Independence Kentucky Power – An AEP Company Kentucky River Properties LLC Kentucky Utilities Company Linn County Rural Electric Cooperative Llano Land and Exploration Louisiana State University Cooperative Extension Louisville Gas and Electric Company Maine Energy Education Project Maine Public Service Company Marianas Islands Energy Office Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Education Foundation Miller Energy Mississippi Development Authority–Energy Division Montana Energy Education Council NADA Scientific NASA National Association of State Energy Officials National Fuel National Grid National Hydropower Association National Ocean Industries Association National Renewable Energy Laboratory Nebraska Public Power District New Mexico Oil Corporation New Mexico Landman’s Association NRG Energy, Inc. NSTAR OCI Enterprises Offshore Energy Center Offshore Technology Conference Ohio Energy Project Pacific Gas and Electric Company Paxton Resources PECO Pecos Valley Energy Committee

The NEED Project P.O. 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029 ©2013 The NEED ProjectBoxP.O. Box 10101, Manassas, VA 20108 1.800.875.5029

Petroleum Equipment Suppliers Association Phillips 66 PNM Read & Stevens, Inc. Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources RiverWorks Discovery Robert Armstrong Roswell Geological Society Sandia National Laboratory Saudi Aramco Schneider Electric Science Museum of Virginia C.T. Seaver Trust Shell Shell Chemicals Snohomish County Public Utility District–WA Society of Petroleum Engineers David Sorenson Southern Company Southern LNG Southwest Gas Space Sciences University–Laboratory of the University of California Berkeley Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development–Energy Division Tioga Energy Toyota Tri-State Generation and Transmission TXU Energy United Parcel Service United States Energy Association United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey University of Nevada–Las Vegas, NV University of Tennessee University of Texas - Austin University of Texas - Tyler U.S. Department of Energy U.S. Department of Energy–Hydrogen Program U.S. Department of Energy–Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy U.S. Department of Energy–Office of Fossil Energy U.S. Department of Energy–Wind for Schools U.S. Department of Energy–Wind Powering America U.S. Department of the Interior–Bureau of Land Management U.S. Energy Information Administration Van Ness Feldman Vestas Virgin Islands Energy Office West Bay Exploration W. Plack Carr Company Yates Petroleum Corporation


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