Hydropower is a renewable energy resource created by the energy of falling water. 


Gravity forces water to flow through specially equipped hydroelectric dams to produce carbon-free and inexpensive electricity that provides the Northwest with nearly 90% of its renewable energy. In 2020, the 31 Federal Columbia River Power System dams located around the Pacific Northwest generated 7,482 average annual megawatts. But when working at full capacity, the dams have the ability to generate up to 22,442 megawatts. That’s enough to power up to 10 Seattle-sized cities.


Because dams do not produce carbon emissions when generating electricity, the abundance of hydropower makes the region’s power system the cleanest in the United States and prevents 50 million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere.

The Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS) comprises 31 hydroelectric projects in the Columbia River Basin, including the four Lower Snake River Dams (LSRD) which have fueled the region’s economic growth for more than 70 years.  

The Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) own and operate the federal projects.  The Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) markets the power generated by the projects and distributes it through its transmission system. 

Together, these three agencies are referred to as the Action Agencies.


Click  here  to learn more about hydropower's many benefits!

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