Hydropower offers a number of advantages, including the following:

  • Hydropower is a clean fuel source that is fueled by water. It does not contribute to air pollution, as a coal or natural gas plant would.
  • Hydropower is a domestic source of energy; each state can produce their own energy without relying on international fuel sources.
  • Hydropower is a renewable power source and, as a renewable power source, it is more reliable and affordable than fossil fuels.
  • Impoundment hydropower creates reservoirs that can offer a range of recreational opportunities, particularly fishing, swimming, and boating. Most waterpower installations are required to provide some level of public access to the reservoir so the public can take advantage of these recreational opportunities.
  • Some hydropower facilities can quickly ramp up from zero power to maximum output. Since hydropower plants can generate power to the grid immediately, they can be a source of essential back-up power during major electricity outages or other power disruptions.
  • Hydropower is also beneficial for flood control, irrigation, and water supply.
  • Hydropower compliments other renewable energy sources i.e. pumped storage hydropower technologies store energy to use in addition to other renewables such as wind and solar power. [1]

Updated by Erin Bennett, June 2022