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Powerhouse: Exploring the Inner Workings of a Hydropower Powerhouse

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Powerhouse: Exploring the Inner Workings of a Hydropower Powerhouse

What is Powerhouses

The powerhouse is basically the place where the Francis Turbines are kept (3×33mw), which will be used for power generation.

It is the place where the HRT is bifurcated into 2 tunnels out of which the one is again bifurcated into 2 tunnels creating 3 separate tunnels with a finished diameter of 2.2 m which will be used for feeding water to the turbines for power generation.

A powerhouse is more than just a large building; it represents the lifeblood of energy production. Powerhouses harness the forces of nature to produce electricity that lights up cities, powers businesses, and propel our modern world. They are tucked away in natural landscapes or placed strategically next to water bodies. In this article, we set out on a quest to investigate the mysteries of powerhouses, the wonders they contain, and the crucial part they play in determining the course of our life.

Bifurcation of the HRT into 2 tunnels:
Bifurcation of the HRT into 2 tunnels:

Thermal Powerhouses

Thermal power plants employ combustion to create steam, which powers turbines attached to generators, transforming mechanical energy into electricity. They are powered by coal, natural gas, or oil. Despite being efficient, they dramatically increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Nuclear Powerhouses

These powerhouses employ nuclear fission to harness heat that creates steam and drives turbines, giving fossil fuel-based plants a low-carbon substitute.

Renewable Energy Powerhouses

  1. Hydropower Powerhouses: These facilities use turbines to transform hydraulic energy into electrical energy by harnessing the force of moving or falling water. They contribute significantly to clean energy programs and are environmentally beneficial.
  2. Wind Powerhouses: Using wind turbines to transform wind energy into electrical power, wind powerhouses help the world’s transition to renewable energy sources.
  3. Solar Powerhouses: These facilities use photovoltaic cells or solar thermal systems to collect sunlight to generate electricity, utilizing a plentiful and sustainable energy source.
  4. Geothermal Powerhouses: Situated close to geothermal reservoirs, these powerhouses employ geothermal steam or hot water to generate energy by harnessing the planet’s interior heat.


Screenshot 190 Powerhouse: Exploring the Inner Workings of a Hydropower Powerhouse

After the Bifurcation, the HRT takes the shape of Penstock i.e., the diameter of the tunnel decreases on moving towards the turbine to increase the pressure of water in the tunnel and to project the water at the vanes of the Francis turbine with the required velocity.


  • It consists of 3 units.
  • The first unit is under one slab while the other two are together under a second slab.
  • It consists of the main components of turbines such as penstock, spiral casing, pit liner, rotor, etc.
  • It also has MIV- main inlet valve. MIV is the connecting link between the penstock and the mouth of the spiral casing
  • It also has a drainage sump
  • Coolant tanks are provided to prevent the turbines from heating.
Screenshot 192 Powerhouse: Exploring the Inner Workings of a Hydropower Powerhouse
Screenshot 191 Powerhouse: Exploring the Inner Workings of a Hydropower Powerhouse

Machine Hall Electric Overhead Traveller:

It is a gantry that is there in the machine hall for the purpose of carrying the Turbines and their parts to the machine hall from the service bay. It is having a carrying capacity of 160 tonnes but for safe working it is 140 tonnes.



  • The total area of the switchyard is 127.6*62 sq. meters.
  • The electro-mechanical part of the project is undertaken by the company- “Voith”
  • It consists of different foundations:
    1. Foundation cables in the control room
    2. Main towers with 22 foundations
    3. 51 isolated foundations
    4. 18 circuit breaker
    5. 6 high-mast foundations for light arrestors
    6. 12 bush post insulator foundations
    7. 18 current transformers
    8. 12 current-volt-transformers(CVT) are present
    9. Total of 186 foundations
  • It also consists of a 350m cable trench
  • Concrete hume pipes are provided for drainage and cables
  • HDP- high-density polymer pipes are also provided
  • There are overall 6 bays in the switchyard.
Switch Yard
Switch Yard
Cable Trench
Cable Trench

Cable trenches are in the switchyard in order to facilitate proper drainage of water. The slope of the switchyard is 1 in 1000.

Screenshot 199 Powerhouse: Exploring the Inner Workings of a Hydropower Powerhouse

The Flooring of the switch yard is of crushed stones, it is because if there is a leakage of the current so the discontinuous arrangement of stones will break the flow of current and this is the main advantage of using the stones over PCC and Soil surface.


  • Step-up transformers will be installed in this yard to increase the voltage of power produced.
  • From GT yard high tension cables will transfer the electricity to the switchyard for further distribution.
  • It is located at the backside of the E line of the powerhouse.
  • These will be used for power generation from the Francis turbine.


  • The water after moving in the turbine gets out through the draft tube to the tail race channel.
  • The tail race channel is further connected to the main river Mandakini which facilitates the movement of water I to the river.
  • It consists of a wall up to which the water level will be maintained and when the level crosses that point it will be fed into the river


The gates of the Tail race channel will be controlled by the Winch system, so when the turbine will be turned on the outlet water will be fed to the river using TRC.


Bridge over TRC

Bridge Girders are also being erected for the construction of the bridge between the
TRC for the inspection of the TRC.
Elevation of the TRC Bottom = 795.383m; Top = 806m
Bridge in TRC – Span = 32m; width = 4.5m

Bridge over TRC

Also Read:- Demystifying Formwork in Construction: DOKA Formwork System and Components

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