ASDSO Dam Safety Toolbox

Power Generation

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Hoover Dam power generators

(Image Source: Wikipedia)

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. The energy created by the elevation difference of the water passing through the dam is captured by a generator and transmitted to a nearby power grid. The United States is the fourth largest producer of hydropower in the world. Dams produce approximately 6.3 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.

Not many dams were built for hydroelectric power generation. However, the dams with hydroelectric power generation have proven useful as a source of power and a reliable way to start power generation in times of the power grid being disrupted. There are three types of dams built for hydroelectric power: Impoundment which is the most common, diversion, and pump storage. It is estimated that in the US only 2300 dams provided power as of 2020.

Below are resources where you can go and get more information on dams used in power generation. Dam Safety and Inspections | Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (

Introduction Video

Training Introduction (Primer)

Wikipedia has a list of the larger hydroelectric power dams in the US.

Revision ID: 7805
Revision Date: 02/05/2024