West

WESTERN U.S. HYDRO GENERATION PROFILE, 2013

StateConventional Hydro MWhTotal MWhTotal Renewables MWhHydro as a % of totalHydro as a % of renewablePowered & Non-powered Dams
Alaska1,426,1936,203,2301,569,19023%90.89%96
Arizona5,950,654110,126,6008,597,6505.40%69.21%346
California24,541,380199,997,70061,105,38012.27%40.16%1,468
Colorado1,258,34153,396,3008,901,3402.36%14.14%1,795
Hawaii90,7809,813,7951,039,8150.93%7.55%138
Idaho9,100,52815,741,96012,274,53057.81%74.14%428
Montana9,953,30027,573,22011,614,30036.10%85.70%2,916
Nevada2,681,57336,494,4806,493,5707.35%41.30%512
New Mexico185,47736,042,3202,802,4800.51%6.62%519
Oregon33,457,37260,164,74041,984,37055.61%79.69%935
Utah633,83042,822,5701,576,8301.48%40.2%795
Washington77,906,959113,321,30086,657,96068.75%89.90%746
Wyoming716,60052,395,1105,131,6001.37%13.96%1,416

Sources: USACE NID, EIA

Hydropower in the West

Hydropower accounts for more than 22 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 2013. 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.

Aerial view of the Chief Joseph Project

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.