Hydropower

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Hydropower uses the energy from moving water to power machines or generate electricity. Used for over two thousand years in water mills, today hydropower is more commonly associated with electricity generation.

Basics

Photo of the McNary Dam on the Columbia River on the Oregon-Washington Border

Hydropower uses the energy from moving water to power machines or generate electricity. Used for over two thousand years in water mills, today hydropower is more commonly associated with electricity generation. Hydropower has been used to generate electricity since the late 19th century, and remains the largest source of renewable energy worldwide.
Hydroelectric power plants are usually built inside dams. The reservoir of water that collects behind the dam provides a steady supply of water, which passes through giant turbines to generate electricity. Hydropower is particularly common in places with high rainfall and lots of topography, such as Washington and Oregon, which together produce around 40% of the hydroelectricity generated in the United States.   Read more

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Latest News

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(2018-11-05)
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U.S. Capitol
(2016-02-02)
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Geological Surveys Database Publications

2005, Commission on Water Resource Management

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1996, Arizona Geological Survey
Arizona is endowed with incredibly diverse natural beauty, and has also been blessed with at least seven discrete deposits of bedded salt. These deposits are dispersed around the state and cover some 2,500 square miles; they currently contain 14 LPG storage caverns, with preliminary plans for more...
2002, Arizona Geological Survey
Landscape change detection using Landsat ETM+ sensor data and image processing methods based on band orthogonalization are used for initial mapping of flood inundation along Jackrabbit Wash, in Maricopa County. Results indicate that image processing of Landsat data, which has a nominal 30 m pixel...
2012, United States Geological Survey

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2012, United States Geological Survey

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2008, Minnesota Geological Survey

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1991, Arizona Geological Survey
This report is a nontechnical swnmary of the energy resources of Arizona intended to accompany the Energy Resources Map of Arizona. Arizona is endowed with a variety of energy resources and potential resources; each is given its own chapter in this report. Chapters are arranged according to the...
1976, Pennsylvania Geological Survey

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1971, Minnesota Geological Survey
Popular and elementary geology, Minneapolis-St. Paul (Minnesota)
2014, United States Geological Survey
Key Points--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2009) estimates that excessive sediment is the leading cause of water-quality impairment in water bodies in the United States. The cost of damages attributable to sediment is high, estimated at more than