Illustration 1: Schematic Drawing of a Hydroelectric Generator.
All generating units have four main parts: a turbine, a rotor (a series of magnets), a shaft connecting the turbine to the rotor, and a stator (a coil of copper wire). Water flows down from the reservoir and rushes toward the turbine blades. The force of the falling water spins the blades when it hits, which turn the shaft connected to the rotor above. The rotor spins. This creates a magnetic field as its magnets sweep past the coils of copper wire in the stator. This creates an electric current.
In the powerplant powerhouse, the current travels from the generator through wires, out to long distance power lines, and into the homes, schools, and businesses of the electricity users.
Questions for Illustration 1
1) What are the main parts of a hydroelectric power generator? What parts aren't shown in the illustration? (Refer to Reading 1 if necessary)
2) What is hydroelectric power? Explain in your own words.
3) What role does gravity play in producing electricity? What other natural force can you find in the generator?