Hydropower Flows Here

How electricity moves from nature to your home

Illustration of clouds raining over mountains near a river with a hydroelectric dam, with power lines on the land beside a house.

Hydropower is renewable energy made by water.

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