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Hydro-electricity

Eildon Hydro - courtesy of Pacific Hydro

One of the most famous clean energy projects in Australia is the Snowy Mountain Hydro Electricity scheme in Cooma, New South Wales.

Hydro-electricity is often called 'hydro' for short. Up until now, hydro has been the main contributor of renewable energy in Australia.

mini hydro

Mini hydro adds power to diary farm in Tassie

In the battle to keep costs down, northern Tasmania dairy farmer Paul Bennett has installed a mini hydro on the family's Ashgrove farm to help ease the costs of maintaining the two dairies and the well-known cheese factory.

Imagine if we could harness the power of water to make electricity in our own backyards!!

(from Michael Cavanagh, ABC Rural)

Watch the video <a href="http://aso.gov.au/titles/sponsored-films/snowy-hydro-snowy-mts-scheme/clip2/"target="_blank">here</a> courtesy of Australian Screen

Snowy Mountain scheme

The Snowy Mountain scheme is still the biggest engineering project ever undertaken in Australia, and the men who built it were grateful for the latest technology at the time - as you can see in this early film.

The project harnesses the Snowy river with a series of dams. The energy of the water is captured as the water is released down the river.

It took 25 years to build, it was finished in 1974 and only 2 per cent of the project can be seen above ground!

It took more than 100,000 people from over 30 countries to build, and actualy has two purposes - to divert water west to farmers to grow food and to create a power station to collect the energy of the water.

This is how hydro turns moving water into electricity

How hydro works

Have a look at this fact sheet to understand how the energy is collected.

There are also other hydroelectricity operations in Australia, mostly in Tasmania.

Much of the early development of hydroelectricity was to supply electricity to remote mining areas.

A clean energy resource

Hydro does not produce any green house gases. Have a look at this profile.

2010 and 2011 were particularly good years for hydroelectricity because there was a lot of rain.

Even though hydro doesn't use up the water, we get energy from it as it flows down the river.

The more water that's flowing, the more hyrdoelectricity we can make.

No new large hydroelectric projects are being planned in Australia.

Other clean energy technologies are expected to overtake hydroelectricity schemes in Australia - but that's not the end of the story for water.

Have a look at tidal and wave energy.

Thinking about the movement of water, how could you tap into its amazing energy… got a bright idea? Make a video and enter the competition!

The Competition
The competition

We asked Australian students to make a video or convince us in writing about their BIG ideas for a sustainable energy future.

Check out the fantastic videos we received, all about sustainable energy solutions!

VIEW THE GALLERY OF ENTRIES
For teachers

Explore the fascinating science edging us closer to low carbon living. This fun, flexible project includes easy-to-use ICT, oodles of resources and FREE lesson plans from CSIRO Education.

Links to Australian curriculum, plus NAPLAN rehearsal.

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