Grand Est Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, is an administrative region in eastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform, passed by the French legislature in 2014. Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine was a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order. France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016; the administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg. The provisional name of the region was Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, formed by combining the names of the three present regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine—in alphabetical order with hyphens; the formula for the provisional name of the region was established by the territorial reform law and applied to all but one of the provisional names for new regions. The ACAL regional council, elected in December 2015, was given the task of choosing a name for the region and submitting it to the Conseil d'État—France's highest authority for administrative law—by 1 July 2016 for approval.
The provisional name of the region was retired on 30 September 2016, when the new name of the region, Grand Est, took effect. In Alsace and in Lorraine, the new region has been called ALCA, for Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardennes, on the internet. Like the name Région Hauts-de-France, the name Région Grand Est contains no reference whatsoever to the area's history or identity, but describes its geographical location within metropolitan France. In a poll conducted in November 2014 by France 3 in Champagne-Ardenne, Grand Est and Austrasie were the top two names among 25 candidates and 4,701 votes. Grand Est topped a poll the following month conducted by L'Est Républicain, receiving 42% of 3,324 votes; the names which received a moderate amount of discussion were: Grand Est français, a term used to refer to the northeast quarter of Metropolitan France, although this term refers to a geographic region larger than just ACAL. The term has been used and topped the polls mentioned above. Grand Est Europe, a variant of Grand Est that alludes to the region being a gateway to Europe both through trade and since Strasbourg is home to several European institutions.
However, the name was mocked for. Austrasie, which refers to an historical region spanning parts of present-day northeast France, the Benelux, northwest Germany. Quatre frontières. Grand Est is the sixth-largest of the regions of France. Grand Est borders four countries—Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland—along its northern and eastern sides, it is the only French region to border more than two countries. To the west and south, it borders the French regions Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Grand Est contains ten departments: Ardennes, Bas-Rhin, Haute-Marne, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Vosges; the main ranges in the region include the Vosges to the Ardennes to the north. The region is bordered on the east by the Rhine. Other major rivers which flow through the region include the Meuse, Marne, Saône. Lakes in the region include lac de Gérardmer, lac de Longemer, lac de Retournemer, lac des Corbeaux, Lac de Bouzey, lac de Madine, étang du Stock and lac de Pierre-Percée.
Grand Est climate depends of the proximity of the sea. In Champagne and Western Lorraine, the climate is oceanic, with mild summers, but Moselle and Alsace climates are humid continental, characterized by cold winters with frequent days below the freezing point, hot summers, with many days with temperatures up to 32°C. Grand Est is the result of territorial reform legislation passed in 2014 by the French Parliament to reduce the number of regions in Metropolitan France—the part of France in continental Europe—from 22 to 13. ACAL is the merger of three regions: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine; the merger has been, still is opposed by some groups in Alsace, a large majority of Alsatians. The territorial reform law allows new regions to choose the seat of the regional councils, but made Strasbourg the seat of the Grand Est regional council—a move to appease the region's politicians; the region has an official population of 5,555,186. The regional council has limited administrative authority concerning the promotion of the region's economy and financing educational and cultural activities.
The regional council has no legislative authority. The seat of the regional council will be Strasbourg; the regional council, elected in December 2015, is controlled by The Republicans. The elected inaugural president of the Grand Est Regional Council is Philippe Richert, the President of the Alsace Regional Council; the current president is Jean Rottner. The region has five tram networks: Strasbourg tramway Reims tramway Nancy Guided Light Transit Mulhouse tramway Saarbahn The region has four airports: EuroAirport Basel M
Switzerland the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in western and southern Europe. It consists of 26 cantons, the city of Bern is the seat of the federal authorities; the sovereign state is a federal republic bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of 8.5 million people is concentrated on the plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global cities and economic centres Zürich and Geneva. The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648; the country has a history of armed neutrality going back to the Reformation.
It pursues an active foreign policy and is involved in peace-building processes around the world. In addition to being the birthplace of the Red Cross, Switzerland is home to numerous international organisations, including the second largest UN office. On the European level, it is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties. Spanning the intersection of Germanic and Romance Europe, Switzerland comprises four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, Alpine symbolism. Due to its linguistic diversity, Switzerland is known by a variety of native names: Schweiz. On coins and stamps, the Latin name – shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
Switzerland is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product according to the IMF. Switzerland ranks at or near the top globally in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich and Basel have all three been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with the first ranked second globally, according to Mercer in 2018; the English name Switzerland is a compound containing Switzer, an obsolete term for the Swiss, in use during the 16th to 19th centuries. The English adjective Swiss is a loan from French Suisse in use since the 16th century; the name Switzer is from the Alemannic Schwiizer, in origin an inhabitant of Schwyz and its associated territory, one of the Waldstätten cantons which formed the nucleus of the Old Swiss Confederacy. The Swiss began to adopt the name for themselves after the Swabian War of 1499, used alongside the term for "Confederates", used since the 14th century.
The data code for Switzerland, CH, is derived from Latin Confoederatio Helvetica. The toponym Schwyz itself was first attested in 972, as Old High German Suittes perhaps related to swedan ‘to burn’, referring to the area of forest, burned and cleared to build; the name was extended to the area dominated by the canton, after the Swabian War of 1499 came to be used for the entire Confederation. The Swiss German name of the country, Schwiiz, is homophonous to that of the canton and the settlement, but distinguished by the use of the definite article; the Latin name Confoederatio Helvetica was neologized and introduced after the formation of the federal state in 1848, harking back to the Napoleonic Helvetic Republic, appearing on coins from 1879, inscribed on the Federal Palace in 1902 and after 1948 used in the official seal.. Helvetica is derived from the Helvetii, a Gaulish tribe living on the Swiss plateau before the Roman era. Helvetia appears as a national personification of the Swiss confederacy in the 17th century with a 1672 play by Johann Caspar Weissenbach.
Switzerland has existed as a state in its present form since the adoption of the Swiss Federal Constitution in 1848. The precursors of Switzerland established a protective alliance at the end of the 13th century, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries; the oldest traces of hominid existence in Switzerland date back about 150,000 years. The oldest known farming settlements in Switzerland, which were found at Gächlingen, have been dated to around 5300 BC; the earliest known cultural tribes of the area were members of the Hallstatt and La Tène cultures, named after the archaeological site of La Tène on the north side of Lake Neuchâtel. La Tène culture developed and flourished during the late Iron Age from around 450 BC under some influence from the Gree
The North Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between the United Kingdom, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and France. An epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the ocean through the English Channel in the south and the Norwegian Sea in the north, it is more than 970 kilometres long and 580 kilometres wide, with an area of 570,000 square kilometres. The North Sea has long been the site of important European shipping lanes as well as a major fishery; the sea is a popular destination for recreation and tourism in bordering countries and more has developed into a rich source of energy resources including fossil fuels and early efforts in wave power. The North Sea has featured prominently in geopolitical and military affairs in Northern Europe, it was important globally through the power northern Europeans projected worldwide during much of the Middle Ages and into the modern era. The North Sea was the centre of the Vikings' rise. Subsequently, the Hanseatic League, the Netherlands, the British each sought to dominate the North Sea and thus access to the world's markets and resources.
As Germany's only outlet to the ocean, the North Sea continued to be strategically important through both World Wars. The coast of the North Sea presents a diversity of geographical features. In the north, deep fjords and sheer cliffs mark the Norwegian and Scottish coastlines, whereas in the south, the coast consists of sandy beaches and wide mudflats. Due to the dense population, heavy industrialization, intense use of the sea and area surrounding it, there have been various environmental issues affecting the sea's ecosystems. Adverse environmental issues – including overfishing and agricultural runoff and dumping, among others – have led to a number of efforts to prevent degradation of the sea while still making use of its economic potential; the North Sea is bounded by the Orkney Islands and east coast of Great Britain to the west and the northern and central European mainland to the east and south, including Norway, Germany, the Netherlands and France. In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean.
In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively. In the north it is bordered by the Shetland Islands, connects with the Norwegian Sea, which lies in the north-eastern part of the Atlantic; the North Sea is more than 970 kilometres long and 580 kilometres wide, with an area of 570,000 square kilometres and a volume of 54,000 cubic kilometres. Around the edges of the North Sea are sizeable islands and archipelagos, including Shetland and the Frisian Islands; the North Sea receives freshwater from a number of European continental watersheds, as well as the British Isles. A large part of the European drainage basin empties into the North Sea, including water from the Baltic Sea; the largest and most important rivers flowing into the North Sea are the Elbe and the Rhine – Meuse watershed. Around 185 million people live in the catchment area of the rivers discharging into the North Sea encompassing some industrialized areas.
For the most part, the sea lies on the European continental shelf with a mean depth of 90 metres. The only exception is the Norwegian trench, which extends parallel to the Norwegian shoreline from Oslo to an area north of Bergen, it has a maximum depth of 725 metres. The Dogger Bank, a vast moraine, or accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris, rises to a mere 15 to 30 m below the surface; this feature has produced the finest fishing location of the North Sea. The Long Forties and the Broad Fourteens are large areas with uniform depth in fathoms; these great banks and others make the North Sea hazardous to navigate, alleviated by the implementation of satellite navigation systems. The Devil's Hole lies 200 miles east of Scotland; the feature is a series of asymmetrical trenches between 20 and 30 kilometres long and two kilometres wide and up to 230 metres deep. Other areas which are less deep are Fisher Bank and Noordhinder Bank; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the North Sea as follows: On the Southwest.
A line joining the Walde Lighthouse and Leathercoat Point. On the Northwest. From Dunnet Head in Scotland to Tor Ness in the Island of Hoy, thence through this island to the Kame of Hoy on to Breck Ness on Mainland through this island to Costa Head and to Inga Ness in Westray through Westray, to Bow Head, across to Mull Head and on to Seal Skerry and thence to Horse Island. On the North. From the North point of the Mainland of the Shetland Islands, across to Graveland Ness in the Island of Yell, through Yell to Gloup Ness and across to Spoo Ness in Unst island, through Unst to Herma Ness, on to the SW point of the Rumblings and to Muckle Flugga all these being included in the North Sea area.
The tonne referred to as the metric ton in the United States and Canada, is a non-SI metric unit of mass equal to 1,000 kilograms or one megagram. It is equivalent to 2,204.6 pounds, 1.102 short tons or 0.984 long tons. Although not part of the SI, the tonne is accepted for use with SI units and prefixes by the International Committee for Weights and Measures; the tonne is derived from the weight of 1 cubic metre of pure water. The SI symbol for the tonne is't', adopted at the same time as the unit in 1879, its use is official for the metric ton in the United States, having been adopted by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology. It is a symbol, not an abbreviation, should not be followed by a period. Use of upper and lower case is significant, use of other letter combinations is not permitted and would lead to ambiguity. For example,'T','MT','Mt','mt' are the SI symbols for the tesla, megatesla and millitonne respectively. If describing TNT equivalent units of energy, this is equivalent to 4.184 petajoules.
In French and most varieties of English, tonne is the correct spelling. It is pronounced the same as ton, but when it is important to clarify that the metric term is meant, rather than short ton, the final "e" can be pronounced, i.e. "tonny". In Australia, it is pronounced. Before metrication in the UK the unit used for most purposes was the Imperial ton of 2,240 pounds avoirdupois or 20 hundredweight, equivalent to 1,016 kg, differing by just 1.6% from the tonne. The UK Weights and Measures Act 1985 explicitly excluded from use for trade certain imperial units, including the ton, unless the item being sold or the weighing equipment being used was weighed or certified prior to 1 December 1980, then only if the buyer was made aware that the weight of the item was measured in imperial units. In the United States metric ton is the name for this unit used and recommended by NIST. Both spellings are acceptable in Canadian usage. Ton and tonne are both derived from a Germanic word in general use in the North Sea area since the Middle Ages to designate a large cask, or tun.
A full tun, standing about a metre high, could weigh a tonne. An English tun of wine weighs a tonne, 954 kg if full of water, a little less for wine; the spelling tonne pre-dates the introduction of the SI in 1960. In the United States, the unit was referred to using the French words millier or tonneau, but these terms are now obsolete; the Imperial and US customary units comparable to the tonne are both spelled ton in English, though they differ in mass. One tonne is equivalent to: Metric/SI: 1 megagram. Equal to 1000000 grams or 1000 kilograms. Megagram, Mg, is the official SI unit. Mg is distinct from milligram. Pounds: Exactly 1000/0.453 592 37 lb, or 2204.622622 lb. US/Short tons: Exactly 1/0.907 184 74 short tons, or 1.102311311 ST. One short ton is 0.90718474 t. Imperial/Long tons: Exactly 1/1.016 046 9088 long tons, or 0.9842065276 LT. One long ton is 1.0160469088 t. For multiples of the tonne, it is more usual to speak of millions of tonnes. Kilotonne and gigatonne are more used for the energy of nuclear explosions and other events in equivalent mass of TNT loosely as approximate figures.
When used in this context, there is little need to distinguish between metric and other tons, the unit is spelt either as ton or tonne with the relevant prefix attached. *The equivalent units columns use the short scale large-number naming system used in most English-language countries, e.g. 1 billion = 1,000 million = 1,000,000,000.†Values in the equivalent short and long tons columns are rounded to five significant figures, see Conversions for exact values.ǂThough non-standard, the symbol "kt" is used for knot, a unit of speed for aircraft and sea-going vessels, should not be confused with kilotonne. A metric ton unit can mean 10 kilograms within metal trading within the US, it traditionally referred to a metric ton of ore containing 1% of metal. The following excerpt from a mining geology textbook describes its usage in the particular case of tungsten: "Tungsten concentrates are traded in metric tonne units (originally designating one tonne of ore containing 1% of WO3, today used to measure WO3 quantities in 10 kg units.
One metric tonne unit of tungsten contains 7.93 kilograms of tungsten." Note that tungsten is known as wolfram and has the atomic symbol W. In the case of uranium, the acronym MTU is sometimes considered to be metric ton of uranium, meaning 1,000 kg. A gigatonne of carbon dioxide equivalent is a unit used by the UN climate change panel, IPCC, to measure the effect of a technolo
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well
Hydroelectricity is electricity produced from hydropower. In 2015, hydropower generated 16.6% of the world's total electricity and 70% of all renewable electricity, was expected to increase about 3.1% each year for the next 25 years. Hydropower is produced in 150 countries, with the Asia-Pacific region generating 33 percent of global hydropower in 2013. China is the largest hydroelectricity producer, with 920 TWh of production in 2013, representing 16.9 percent of domestic electricity use. The cost of hydroelectricity is low, making it a competitive source of renewable electricity; the hydro station consumes no water, unlike gas plants. The average cost of electricity from a hydro station larger than 10 megawatts is 3 to 5 U. S. cents per kilowatt hour. With a dam and reservoir it is a flexible source of electricity since the amount produced by the station can be varied up or down rapidly to adapt to changing energy demands. Once a hydroelectric complex is constructed, the project produces no direct waste, in many cases, has a lower output level of greenhouse gases than fossil fuel powered energy plants.
Hydropower has been used since ancient times to perform other tasks. In the mid-1770s, French engineer Bernard Forest de Bélidor published Architecture Hydraulique which described vertical- and horizontal-axis hydraulic machines. By the late 19th century, the electrical generator was developed and could now be coupled with hydraulics; the growing demand for the Industrial Revolution would drive development as well. In 1878 the world's first hydroelectric power scheme was developed at Cragside in Northumberland, England by William Armstrong, it was used to power a single arc lamp in his art gallery. The old Schoelkopf Power Station No. 1 near Niagara Falls in the U. S. side began to produce electricity in 1881. The first Edison hydroelectric power station, the Vulcan Street Plant, began operating September 30, 1882, in Appleton, with an output of about 12.5 kilowatts. By 1886 there were 45 hydroelectric power stations in the U. S. and Canada. By 1889 there were 200 in the U. S. alone. At the beginning of the 20th century, many small hydroelectric power stations were being constructed by commercial companies in mountains near metropolitan areas.
Grenoble, France held the International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism with over one million visitors. By 1920 as 40% of the power produced in the United States was hydroelectric, the Federal Power Act was enacted into law; the Act created the Federal Power Commission to regulate hydroelectric power stations on federal land and water. As the power stations became larger, their associated dams developed additional purposes to include flood control and navigation. Federal funding became necessary for large-scale development and federally owned corporations, such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Bonneville Power Administration were created. Additionally, the Bureau of Reclamation which had begun a series of western U. S. irrigation projects in the early 20th century was now constructing large hydroelectric projects such as the 1928 Hoover Dam. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers was involved in hydroelectric development, completing the Bonneville Dam in 1937 and being recognized by the Flood Control Act of 1936 as the premier federal flood control agency.
Hydroelectric power stations continued to become larger throughout the 20th century. Hydropower was referred to as white coal for its plenty. Hoover Dam's initial 1,345 MW power station was the world's largest hydroelectric power station in 1936; the Itaipu Dam opened in 1984 in South America as the largest, producing 14,000 MW but was surpassed in 2008 by the Three Gorges Dam in China at 22,500 MW. Hydroelectricity would supply some countries, including Norway, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Brazil, with over 85% of their electricity; the United States has over 2,000 hydroelectric power stations that supply 6.4% of its total electrical production output, 49% of its renewable electricity. The technical potential for hydropower development around the world is much greater than the actual production: the percent of potential hydropower capacity that has not been developed is 71% in Europe, 75% in North America, 79% in South America, 95% in Africa, 95% in the Middle East, 82% in Asia-Pacific.
The political realities of new reservoirs in western countries, economic limitations in the third world and the lack of a transmission system in undeveloped areas result in the possibility of developing 25% of the remaining technically exploitable potential before 2050, with the bulk of that being in the Asia-Pacific area. Some countries have developed their hydropower potential and have little room for growth: Switzerland produces 88% of its potential and Mexico 80%. Most hydroelectric power comes from the potential energy of dammed water driving a water turbine and generator; the power extracted from the water depends on the volume and on the difference in height between the source and the water's outflow. This height difference is called the head. A large pipe delivers water from the reservoir to the turbine; this method produces electricity to supply high peak demands by moving water between reservoirs at different elevations. At times of low electrical demand, the excess generation capacity is used to pump water into the higher reservoir.
When the demand becomes greater, water is released back into the lower reservoir through a turbine. Pumped-storage schemes provide the most commercially important means of large-scale grid energy storage and improve the daily capacity factor of the generation system. Pumped storag