What is hydropower?
Hydropower uses the energy of moving water to produce electricity. Also known as hydroelectric power, it's been used to generate electricity for over 100 years and currently provides about 10 percent of the country's electricity.
The Process of hydroelectric generation
Hydroelectricity generation begins at a dam where the power plant converts the force of falling water into electricity. Hydroelectricity is used as either a primary or reserve energy source. In areas that have land for large-scale projects and an abundant water supply, hydropower can be the primary source of electricity. California, the Pacific Northwest, and New England have large numbers of hydroelectric projects. As a reserve source, hydroelectric projects can provide extra power to meet high demands.
Cross Section of a Dam
What are the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) responsibilities for regulating hydropower?
What FERC does not regulate
Brief History of Hydropower Regulation
Hydroelectric power regulation was the first work undertaken by the Federal Power Commission, after Congress passed the Federal Water Power Act of 1920.
The Commission regulates hydroelectric power projects under the following statutes:
Licensing Hydropower Projects
Did You Know...
The Commission is responsible for dam safety at over 2,600 licensed and exempted dams and related water retention structures.
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