Hydropower in United States – Quick facts

Hydropower is one of the oldest and most important renewable energy sources in United States. In 1882, the world’s first commercial central DC hydroelectric power plant provided power for a paper mill in Appleton, Wisconsin

At the end of 2021, hydropower accounted for 31.5% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.3% of total U.S. electricity generation.

The state of Washington is nation’s leader in hydroelectricity generation capacity.

At the end of 2021, there were around 1,450 conventional and 40 pumped-storage hydropower plants operating in the United States.

According to the International Hydropower Association, the United States is the 3rd largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world in 2021 after Brazil and China.

The most famous Hydroelectricity projects in United States include  Hoover DamGrand Coulee Dam, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

Grand Coulee dam is the lagest hydroelectric power station in the United States with the installed capacity of 6,809 MW.

There are conventional hydropower facilites  in nearly every US state.

In 2021, total U.S. conventional hydroelectricity net summer generation capacity was 80,027 megawatts (MW)—or about 80 million kilowatts.

Only a small percentage of the dams in the United States produce electricity because most dams were constructed for irrigation and flood control.

Droughts caused by climate change already negatively effect US hydropower generation. In 2022, the water in Lake Powell, one of the nation’s largest reservoirs, has fallen extremely low amid the Western drought. Modernizing existing US hydropower infrastructure could increase efficiency and help recover some drought-related losses.

2021 landmark infrastructure law provided $2.3 billion in dam funding and $753 million that will go toward dam safety and environmental improvements.

The U.S. is unlikely to see much hydropower growth in the coming decade, in part due to the onerous licensing and permitting process.

There are over 90000 dams in United States.