The principle on which hydroelectric power plants are based is very simple. Water cascades down from a considerable height and turns a propeller (turbine), which drives an alternator. The alternator produces electricity.
Hydroelectric power is probably the easiest method of extracting electricity from a renewable energy source. The only condition is that there must be a sufficient difference in height between two water levels.
To this end a number of barrages were built along the river Meuse over the past few decades. They also safeguard the river’s navigability and reduce the risk of flooding.
EDF Luminus operates 7 hydroelectric power plants (860Kb, FR)
- The power plant at Ivoz-Ramet has been in operation since 1954 and exploits the total capacity of the river Meuse for more than 300 days a year. It also adapts to the strong fluctuations in the river’s capacity.
- The design of the Monsin power plant is identical to the plant at Ivoz-Ramet, but it has a much greater capacity (450 m3 instead of 285 m3 per second), because the river Ourthe flows into the Meuse at this point. Together with its ‘sister’ plant in Ivoz-Ramet, this power plant generates 19 million m3 of gas per year and supplies electricity to 24,500 households. This power plant has also been operational since 1954.
- The power plant at Ampsin-Neuville was built in 1965 and is based on technology comparable to the technology used at the well-know tidal power plant in Rance (France). The alternator is located in the centre of the turbine, i.e. in the middle of the channel where the water flows. The power plant is relatively small and was, therefore, easy to construct. It saves 7.7 million m3 of gas per year and supplies 9,800 households with electricity.
- In Andenne in 1980 we built a turbine with an external ring shaped alternator. This facilitates maintenance. Furthermore, the turbine is rather small, which simplified its construction.
- The power plant in Lixhe is identical to the one in Andenne and was built at the same time. Similar to its ‘sister’ plant it has an output of 75 to 78%. Together, both power plants save 19 million m3 of natural gas and provide energy to 24,000 households.
- The power plant of Grands-Malades dates back to 1988 and has the same turbine as the plants in Lixhe and Andenne, but with a traditional alternator driven by a driving belt. This allows the design to be based on standard materials and makes the construction and maintenance less expensive. This power plant has an output of 88% and saves 3.7 million m3 of natural gas. It supplies 4,700 households with electricity.
- Our only power plant on the banks of the river Sambre is located in Floriffoux (since 1993). It is the first Belgian power plant with a turbine with a vertical axle and swan neck.
All these power plants are remotely controlled and monitored from the central computer room in Ivoz-Ramet.