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Hydropower Basics

Hydroelectric power or hydropower is the electricity created when energy is captured from flowing water.

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McNary Dam hydroelectric power plant is one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the United States and can generate 980 megawatts of clean energy.

Using a dam or diversion structure to alter the natural flow of a river or other body of water, hydropower technologies convert the water's motion into electricity. Since hydropower costs less than most other energy sources, it is widely used across the United States. About 7% of all of America's electricity is generated from hydropower, making it the largest source of renewable energy.

Because water evaporates into clouds and recycles back to Earth as precipitation, water power is able to produce electricity in a sustainable way. Hydropower is also becoming even more environmentally friendly as researchers work on new technologies to reduce adverse impacts on fish and their natural habitats.


Additional Resources

For more information about hydropower, visit the following resources:

Hydropower Basics 
U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

How Hydropower Works
U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy