Hydropower, or hydroelectric power, is one of the oldest and largest sources of renewable energy, which uses the natural flow of moving water to generate electricity. Hydropower currently accounts for 31.5% of total U.S. renewable electricity generation and about 6.3% of total U.S. electricity generation. Hydropower facilities come in all sizes. Some may be very large, but they can be tiny, too, taking advantage of water flows in municipal water facilities or irrigation ditches. They can even be “damless,” with diversions or run-of-river facilities that channel part of a stream through a powerhouse before the water rejoins the main river. Whatever the method, hydropower is much easier to obtain and more widely used than most people realize. In fact, all but two states (Delaware and Mississippi) use hydropower for electricity, some more than others. For example, in 2020 about 66% of the state of Washington’s electricity came from hydropower.

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