According to a research by McKinsey & Company, by 2050 the electricity produced by alternative power sources could reach almost 50% of the global energy consumption. Many large players in this sector focus on energy production from renewable sources: a choice dictated mainly by the willingness to contribute to finding a solution to climate change. Today, Hydroelectric energy is considered the key to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. Currently, in Europe the installed capacity of renewable sources is 650,000 MW and hydroelectricity is the main source, having reached 222,000 MW (despite having a slower growing trend over the past decade compared to other sources, such as solar energy which has been growing fast). Italy is one of the countries with the highest number of plants: installed capacity has reached 18,900 MW and approximately 15% of national energy needs are covered using this technology.
Water means hydroelectric energy
Hydroelectric plants take advantage of the power of water to generate electricity.
Ancient civilizations used the power generated by the water in rivers to operate mills and manage field irrigation. Today hydroelectric energy can be produced through natural or artificial reservoirs, which use barriers to prevent water from dispersing. Stored water is conveyed at high speed inside the conduits that take it downstream to the plants in which turbines are installed.
Acea owns seven hydropower plants. Among them, the Salisano plant, which is considered a masterpiece of technology: it has been built excavating galleries in limestone rock and uses water that comes from the Peschiera-Capore acqueduct system, one of the largest in the world to convey exclusively spring water. The Galileo Ferraris hydropower plant in Mandela was updated in January 2020 and has a new technological structure that has improved energy efficiency optimizing the use of water and using 100% of its capacity.