Hydropower, generated mainly from hydroelectric dams, is a clean, renewable, non-emitting source of energy that provides low-cost electricity and helps reduce carbon emissions. U.S. hydroelectric generation is the second largest in the world, providing 7% of domestic electricity production and much larger percentages in the western states. It is more efficient than any other form of electricity generation and offsets more carbon emissions than all other renewable energy sources combined.

Republicans in Congress support expanding the use of hydropower and it is an essential part of an all-of-the-above energy approach to improve the environment and meet our country’s energy needs. Republicans on the Natural Resources Committee are also working to make all hydropower officially recognized as a renewable energy source by any legal or regulatory standard established by the federal government.

Get the Facts:

  • Hydropower accounts for approximately 75% of the nation’s total renewable electricity generation, making it the leading renewable energy source of power.
  • The annual hydropower output is equivalent to the energy produced from burning 200 million barrels of heating oil.
  • The National Hydropower Association estimates that more than 160 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions were avoided in the United States in 2004 because of hydropower generation.
  • The hydroelectric dams on the Snake and Columbia River systems provide the Pacific Northwest with some of the cleanest and cheapest electricity in the country. The removal of the Snake River dams would add 5.4 million tons of CO2 to the atmosphere each year and it would take three nuclear, six coal-fired, or 14 gas-fired power plants to replace their energy output.
  • Hydropower turbines are capable of converting more than 90% of available energy into electricity, making it the most efficient form of electricity generation. By comparison, fossil fuel plants are only approximately 50% efficient.
  • In addition to providing low-cost electricity, multi-purpose dams provide water for irrigation, wildlife, recreation and barge transportation and flood control benefits.

Related Videos:

Natural Resources Committee Jobs Watch - Rep. Tipton, Video Blog (October 24, 2011)

Rep. McClintock Highlights Hydropower, House Floor (October 22, 2009)

Rep. Hastings' Amendment to Expand the Use of Clean, Renewable Hydropower, House Floor (July 15, 2009)

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