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  • Home > Clean Energy > Benefits of Hydropower

    Benefits of Hydropower

    About 84% of the electricity you use comes from hydroelectric dams in the Pacific Northwest.  These dams have the capacity to generate 33,000 megawatts of clean, renewable, and affordable energy to the region.

    Learn more about the benefits of hydropower at

    Hydropower Is Clean

    Because hydroelectricity has no carbon emissions, the region’s carbon footprint is half that of other regions in the country. Hydropower also provides backup to wind resources when the wind doesn’t blow.

    Hydropower Is Renewable

    The water that turns the turbines in a hydroelectric plant is continually replenished through rain and snow melt.

    Hydropower Is Affordable

    The Northwest has some of the lowest power rates in the country because of hydropower. It’s much cheaper than many conventional and renewable generation resources, such as wind, solar, nuclear, coal, woody biomass or natural gas-fired plants.

    Image of BPA Fish & Wildlife Fact Sheet

    Hydropower Supports Fish and Wildlife

    Investments in dam improvements have boosted survival of young fish moving downstream to the ocean to 95% and higher at the federal dams. Customers are spending up to $1 billion a year through their electric rates on fish and wildlife projects.

    Read more about how BPA's Fish & Wildlife Program is restoring salmon runs.

    Hydropower Is Flexible

    Generation at a hydroelectric plant can be ramped up and down quickly. This flexibility makes it a good partner for variable sources of generation, like wind.

    BPA Fact Sheet - Benefits of lower Snake River dams

    Hydropower Benefits the Economy

    Dams control flooding, provide irrigation for farmland, add millions of dollars to the economy through navigation and commercial transportation, and create recreational opportunities for residents and tourists. River navigation is the cleanest, most fuel-efficient mode of commodity transportation.

    Download a BPA fact sheet that describes the regional benefits of the lower Snake River dams.

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