Table Of Contents

    Hydropower: Using water movement to generate electricity


    Key Facts:

    • Hydroelectric power is produced by large turbines that convert the energy of falling or running water into electricity.
    • Hydropower provides 20 percent of the world’s electricity, and 7-9 percent of US electricity. Nearly 80 percent of renewable energy used in the United States comes from hydropower.
    • The United States currently has a hydroelectric capacity of about 80,000 megawatts (MW). An additional 30,000 MW of potential hydroelectric generation capacity exists at 5,677 US sites, many of which already have dams, according to the US Department of Energy. Approximately 21,000 MW of that additional capacity could be realized through more efficient turbines without constructing new dams. Only 3 percent of the more than 75,000 dams in the United States are currently used to generate hydroelectricity.

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