Hydropower Flows Here
May 2, 2020
How electricity moves from nature to your home
Hydropower is renewable energy made by water.
- The water cycle replenishes hydropower’s fuel source in the form of precipitation.
- Melting mountain snowpack feeds rivers in spring and summer.
- The flowing river spins turbines at hydroelectric dams, creating low-cost, carbon-free electricity. Dams also protect downstream communities by preventing flooding.
- Some dams hold back the river in reservoirs so the water can be used later. Reservoirs also support recreation activities.
- The river provides flexible, reliable power that helps balance the variability of wind and solar energy.
- Navigation locks alongside dams enable boat navigation.
- River water is used to irrigate farms.
- High voltage transmission lines carry electricity.
- Electricity is carried to substations where its voltage is reduced.
- Smaller power lines carry electricity to communities.