Western U.S. Hydro Generation Profile, 2010
|State||Conventional Hydro MWh||Total MWh||Total Renewables MWh||Hydro as a % of total||Hydro as a % of renewable||Powered & Non-powered Dams|
Sources: USACE NID, EIA
Hydropower in the West
Hydropower accounts for more than 20 percent of all the electricity generation in these 13 western states. In states like Washington, Oregon and Idaho, hydropower accounted for more than half of each state’s electricity generation in 2009. Fed by powerful waterways like the Colorado and Columbia rivers, electricity from hydropower helps several western states enjoy some of the lowest electricity prices in the country as well as cleaner air.
Project Highlight: Alstom Power Inc.
The second largest hydropower dam in the United States is getting a 21st century upgrade thanks to National Hydropower Association member Alstom Power Inc. The company is currently at work on the manufacture, supply and refurbishment of several Francis turbine components for the Chief Joseph Dam project in Bridgeport, Washington.
Chief Joseph Dam, the largest dam operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was originally completed in 1961. It is home to the nation’s longest straight-line powerhouse and sends clean, affordable power to eight western states.
This modernization project will increase the facility’s power generation capacity by more than 40 MW and boost turbine efficiency to 95% or better. Alstom’s new ultra-efficient Francis runners (the central, rotating parts of hydroelectric turbines) are not only bringing the facility up to date, but when completed, will also deliver clean electricity to an additional 30,000 homes in the Northwestern U.S.
Already underway, the $120 million project will provide an economic boost to the region through 2017. Installing the new Alstom equipment will also protect wildlife such as salmon and steelhead. The project is an example of the incredible opportunities to grow renewable energy generation sustainably at the country’s existing dams.