In a hydel power station, water head is used to drive water turbine coupled to the generator. Water head may be available in hilly region naturally in the form of water reservoir (lakes etc.) at the hill tops. The potential energy of water can be used to drive the turbo generator set installed at the base of the hills through piping called pen stock. Water head may also be created artificially by constructing dams on a suitable river. In contrast to a thermal plant, hydel power plants are eco-friendly, neat and clean as no fuel is to be burnt to produce electricity. While running cost of such plants are low, the initial installation cost is rather high compared to a thermal plants due to massive civil construction necessary. Also sites to be selected for such plants depend upon natural availability of water reservoirs at hill tops or availability of suitable rivers for constructing dams. Water turbines generally operate at low rpm, so number of poles of the alternator are high. For example a 20-pole alternator the rpm of the turbine is only 300 rpm.
Version 2 EE IIT, Kharagpur