How is Electricity Generated from Water?

Electricity generated on the ocean is known as "wave power."
Using the energy potential of trapped water in a dam is one way to generate electricity from water.
A hydropower dam.
A ship going through a lock at the Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydroelectric dam.
The Hoover Dam is used to generate hydroelectric power.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Images By: Tanouchka, Siberia, Blackcurrent, Harvey Barrison, Nofear4232
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2015
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article
Free Widgets for your Site/Blog
Some studies suggest that 6% of drivers deliberately swerve to run over animals.  more...

October 9 ,  1967 :  Guerrilla leader Ernesto 'Che' Guevara was executed by the Bolivian army.  more...

There are two primary methods for generating electricity from water. One method uses the energy potential of trapped water in dams in a more sophisticated version of the water wheel, and the other captures energy from ocean waves. Electricity generated from water is entirely renewable, since water is an abundant natural resource and no water is expended during the electricity generation process. For this reason, many nations rely heavily on hydroelectric power because they want to promote sustainable energy production.

When a dam is used to generate energy, tunnels are installed in the dam when it is built. These tunnels are lined with turbines which are turned when water flows through the tunnels. As the turbines turn, they create electricity which can be fed into the grid or stored. Dam operators can determine the amount of energy produced by regulating the flow of water; most dams are capable of generating far more power than they do on a daily basis, which can be useful when there are problems at other power plants and facilities.


Electricity generated from water on the ocean is known as wave power or wave energy. This method of power generation uses changes in the air levels of sealed chambers to power turbines. These chambers are floated on parts of the ocean with high wave activity, ensuring that a great deal of electric energy can be produced. Not all areas of the ocean are suitable for the generation of wave power, but some seaside communities have taken advantage of the technology to power themselves.

Electricity generation is a major concern for much of the world, since demand is only rising with the growing human population. The benefit of hydroelectric power is that once generation facilities are built, it is easy to maintain and operate them. Electricity generated from water is also clean, since it doesn't involve the burning of fossil fuels to generate power. People can also generate hydroelectric power themselves, if they have access to a fast-moving body of water so that they can install waterwheels.

There are some drawbacks to electricity generated from water. Dams, for example, can be quite destructive when they are installed, as water will flood the regions behind dams. This has been a cause for controversy in the past, especially when dams flood valleys used by native peoples for burial and religious ceremonies. If a dam fails, it also cause catastrophic flooding, and people downstream of a dam tend to experience a reduction in available water after it has been installed. Concerns have also been raised about wave power, since it can be quite noisy and it may prove damaging to marine life.


You might also Like


Discuss this Article

Post 36

Does voltage depend on resistance or not?

Post 29

What can I use to generate electricity by using a high pressure pump with salt water and what type of generator?

Post 26

Please tell me an easy way to generate electricity.

Post 25

Is Singapore a suitable place for using hydroelectric power?

Post 24

I have simple calculator that runs on H2O2. I fill a chamber with water,looks like a battery, place it back and voila. I only need to fill it back when it dries up. What are the occurring processes here?

Post 23

when two stones are rubbed, sparks come. Can electricity be produced?

Post 22

this doesn't explain much, just basic knowledge of hydroelectric. i want to know how does the turbine fit into hydroelectric power generation?

Post 21

i want to produce electricity for my own house.

Post 15

This article was very helpful to me and my friends for a science project! Thank you very much. --Zoha

Post 13

This was really helpful for a science project I was working on! Thank you very much.

Post 9

good one. very useful.

Post 8

I want to produce an electricity at a village level.

Post 7

very useful site.

Post 6

i can see why it would affect marine life it in itself being present is an unnatural variable. both forms are risky and I don't agree with the idea of energy but nonetheless man is a greedy people.

Post 5

but how to create the turning effect of motors?

Post 4

i was just wondering how efficient is fuel energy?

Post 2

I want to start a project of producing electricity of 800volt in a small scale of water.

Post 1

Dear sir,

If we produce electricity through furnace oil or through hydro-power, which one is more feasibly economical? And what are its affects on environment?

Thank you

muna and muniba

Post your comments

Post Anonymously


forgot password?