Hydroelectric Power Plant
Hydroelectric power plants employ hydraulic power, the force or energy of moving water, to produce electricity. This makes it one of the cleanest sources of electrical power and also the cheapest to operate.
Large hydroelectric power plants work by harnessing the potential energy of water in a dam and using it to drive a water turbine and generator. Water from the dam is transmitted by the penstock, an enclosed pipe that delivers and controls water flow to the turbine. The resultant forces cause the turbine shaft to turn as it runs through the blades. The generator produces the electricity by using the rotating force from the turbine shaft.
Small hydroelectric plants operate on the same principle mentioned above, except that they do not make use of dams. Instead, they make use of run-off from water bodies such as rivers, streams, and oceans.
First Gen, in its commitment to produce clean and renewable energy, operates the 132-MW Pantabangan-Masiway and 1.6-MW Agusan hydroelectric power plants. The Pantabangan-Masiway Hydroelectric Plant makes use of a cascade arrangement to better utilize the hydraulic potential of the resource. It does this by passing the water through two (2) 50-MW plants upstream, and then further, to a smaller 12-MW plant downstream using the same water resource. The Pantabangan reservoir can hold up to 1,753 million cubic meters of water which is used both for irrigation and power production purposes.
The Agusan mini-hydro plant, on the other hand, is a run-off-river plant consisting of two (2) 800-kW turbine generators.
Hydroelectric power plants have fast start-up times that enable them to be at full load within five (5) minutes from standstill condition. This property makes them suitable to providing electricity during peak periods when the demand for electricity is greatest. During emergency events such as grid failure, hydroelectric power plants can also provide the initial energy needed to restore the system back to normal condition.
Hydropower is a renewable source of energy since its resource, water, can easily be replenished. Neither does it generate harmful emissions. It is unaffected by rising fossil fuel prices, thus shielding it from production costs.