|Hydraulic power systems include both hydroelectric and pumped storage hydroelectric plants. In both processes, water is directed from a dam through a series of tapering pipes to rotate turbines and create electricity. In principle, the potential energy held in the dam converts into kinetic energy when it flows through the pipes.(reference) (drawing courtesy)||
The concept behind the development of pumped storage plants is the conversion of relatively low-cost, off-peak energy generated in thermal plants into high-value, on-peak power. Water is pumped from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir when low-cost pumping is available from large, efficient thermal plant generation. It is released during periods of high power demand and displaces the use of inefficient, costly alternative sources of generation. If the difference between the off-peak and on-peak energy cost values is large, the process can result in a savings. An additional benefit of pumped storage is the potential reduction in the need for additional peaking power generation capacity.
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