Run-of-river power plants
River-based perpetual power plant. The most common types amongst hydroelectric power plants are the run-of river power plants constructed on rivers and canals. They exploit the potential energy stored in the altitude difference between headwaters (higher) and tailwaters (lower), the so-called hydraulic gradient, for the generation of electrical power. As a rule, run-of river power plants have only a small gradient combined with a high rate of flow, and operate reliably around the clock.
Reservoir power plants
Reservoir power plants exploit the potential energy in the difference in altitude between the waters of a naturally fed high-level reservoir and a power generation plant at a lower level. The water flows from the reservoir through pressure pipes or tunnels to drive the turbines of the power plants located in the valleys. They are generally ramped in to counteract peak load spikes when power demand is temporarily high.
Pumped storage power plants
First pump and then store. Pumped storage power plants raise water to a higher level, usually man-made, storage reservoir. Pumping activities normally take place at night to exploit the excess electrical power of the off-peak demand period for pumping. As soon as demand increases during the day, the water is fed back to drive the turbines of the power plant. This is all controlled by the push of a button and the generators begin to produce electricity within seconds.
During Planning, we always keep a close Eye on Mother Nature's Needs
It is almost impossible to avoid at least some form of environmental impact during the construction of hydroelectric power plants. For us, reducing this impact to the lowest possible level is a matter of course, and is always an integral part of each planning and construction process. Because water as a habitat is extremely sensitive, many of our power plants are equipped with migration aids for fish, e.g. salmon ladders. However, in order to ensure even better protection of aquatic life forms we also participate in research and survey projects.
In the same way, we, as hydroelectric plant operators, also take our responsibilities for flooding prevention seriously, and invest multi-million sums for appropriate preventive measures every year. Any required increasing of dike heights obviously involves some environmental impact, but we compensate for such impacts with ecological programs.
Moreover, scientific studies have shown that the plant sites frequently develop to become new habitats for numerous animal and plant species. On the whole, it has been confirmed that our measures show an overall positive effect on biodiversity - the biological variety of species.
By the way, our power plant personnel are high-power cleaners too - they fish thousands of tonnes of civilization trash and wastes from the screening equipment of our power plants and make sure it is correctly disposed of.