While solar and wind power may have garnered a lot of attention in recent years, Switzerland's Linthal hydropower plant is making headlines for powering homes with nothing but the energy of gravity. As the need for renewable energy sources continues to grow, this facility demonstrates the future of clean power.
The Linthal hydropower plant is a pump-storage facility, which means that it uses water to store electricity as potential energy. The system works by running water from higher reservoirs down to lower reservoirs. As gravity moves the water along, it passes through turbines that will spin and generate electricity. When there is a low demand for electricity, excess power from the grid is then used to reverse the turbines and pump water back up into the reservoir.
With the ability to power one million homes, the Linthal hydropower plant is likely to become a model for similar facilities.