The first water wheel was first used around 200 BC. For tasks like Grinding grain and irrigation
Not Much Happens
0 AD - 1850
Not much happens with hydropower at this time.
First Hydroelectric Plant in Niagra Falls
First industrial use of hydropower
Our nation's first industrial use of hydropower to generate electricity occurred in 1880 brush-arc lamps were powered water turbine at the Wolverine Chair factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan
First Hydroelectric Street Lamps
the street lamps at Niagra Falls began using hydro electric power in 1881
First Hydroelectric Plant in Wisconsin
First hydroelectric plant in Wisconsin opened on September 30, 1882 on Fox River, in Appleton, Wisconsin
A Lot of Hydroelectric Plants
In 1886, between 40 and 50 hydroelectric plants were operating in the US and in Canada.
West Starts Using Hydropower
First hydro electric plant in the western part of the U.S. opened in 1887 in San Bernado, California
The Austin Dam is Completed
The Austin Dam, the first specifically designed for generating hydropower, was completed in 1893
An Act was Signed
The Rivers and First Federal Water Power Act required special permission for a hydroelectric plant to be built and operated on any stream/river large enough for boat traffic. This act was signed in 1901.
US is Using More Hydropower
In 1907 15% of the US was using hydropower for electricity
Caughdenoy Dam was Built
In 1909 the Caughdenoy Dam was built, in Oswego, New York. The generation potential is 2.5 mega-watts per year
The West Relies More on Hydropower
In 1940, 75% of the electricity in the Western states used hydropower as fuel.
Hydro Electric Dams are Blocking Fish
1960 - 1970
Operators of hydro electric dams realize the dams are blocking fish migration.
John T. Myers Locks and Dam is Built
John T. Myers Locks & Dams is built in 1975, in Union, Kentucky. With a generation potential of 395.2 mega watts on Ohio River. It was built near the city of Cave in Rock.
Conventional Plant Capacity
Conventional hydropower plant capacity nearly tripled in the US since 1940.
The US ranked among the Top 4 countries in the world for hydroelectric generation, along with China, Canada, and Brazil. These countries generated 44% of the world's electricity from hydropower.
US Uses Hydropower
In 2011, hydropower created 6% of total US electricity and 63% of electricity generation from renewable resources
Hydropower Generation in US
Today the US is the 2nd largest producer of hydropower- Canada is the largest. There are 75,185 dams in the US, but less than 3% are used for generation.