Water energy

The discovery of water energy was one of mankind’s greatest conquests.

In the Middle Ages, its use allowed societies to begin to industrialize.

Past to present

The oldest and simplest form of the hydraulic turbine is the waterwheel, used by the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome. The first wheels drew water for irrigation. Their use quickly led to a significant improvement in agricultural productivity.

In the Middle Ages, the mechanisms of water mills evolved, bringing major advances for man. A turning point came with the invention of the camshaft, which converted circular movement into longitudinal movement. Thanks to this invention, manufacturers were able to mechanize and industry grew. Forges multiplied, textile weaving flourished, the paper industry grew, sawmills industrialized…

It was only with the invention of the turbine and the widespread availability of the steam engine in the 19th century that traditional water mills faded from the industrial scene.

Today, water energy is used in hydroelectric power plants to generate electricity.

And the future?

Whether free-flowing or dammed, hydraulic energy presently accounts for 18% of the world's production of electricity.
Other ways of using water are being studied, most notably by using a river's natural current (undammed) or ocean energies.

Ocean energies include :
 tidal energy,
 wave energy,
 underwater energy produced by ocean currents, and
 thermal energy from the seas.

These energies are serious alternatives, although none has yet reached maturity.

The AREVA at a glance

Have 2 minutes 30 seconds to spare?

Discover the group’s business and its presence around the world, key figures, AREVA Way, and dialogue with our stakeholders…and much more!

AREVA in the United States

AREVA is the leading nuclear energy supplier in the United States and a growing player in the renewable energy business.

AREVA's U.S. Blog

Would you like to learn more about AREVA’s activities in the United States? Discuss climate change and other energy issues with us?