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Water energy has its origin in the solar energy incident from the sun which causes evaporation of water from oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. Water vapour is moved over the earth’s surface and cooling leads to condensation and precipitation. This ensures the creation of high-lying potential energy resources of water, which becomes kinetic energy of motion in rivers. Worldwide energy produced from water covers more than 18% of the total electricity produced and is the most important renewable energy source. Every year, hydroelectric plants produce 2100 billion kWh of electricity. This is more than is produced in nuclear power plants.
This module seeks to provide a better understanding of water energy and its applications. It first defines and explains critical basic terms such as the water cycle, water flow and water energy. It then categorises the various types of water engines and power stations. Once you know how they work in principle, it is time to focus on water turbines and small water energy power stations and their advantages and disadvantages.
The module is supported by videos and animations as illustration and deepening of the learning materials. After each section the module contains recap parts and quiz questions to make sure you have fully captured and understood the essence of the materials.
When you have successfully completed this unit you will be able to:
- Understand the basics of water energy
- Define key terms such as ‘water flow’ and ‘hydropower potential’
- Measure flow speed
- Understand the principles of water power generation and how plants work
- Discuss the pros and cons of small water energy power stations