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Using one of the oldest forms of energy

The hydroelectric plants we own are some of the oldest generators on our systems, continuing to provide customers with reliable power after many decades of operations. We have 26 plants with a combined capacity of more than 370 megawatts. Located in Colorado, Minnesota and Wisconsin, the plants contribute clean, low-cost power as part of our diverse mix of energy sources.

How Hydro Power Works

It begins with a forceful, rushing river or with a dam that holds back a river and diverts flow. Falling water flows through propeller-like turbines and causes them to rotate. The rotation of these turbines spins generators to produce electricity. The amount of electricity generated from each unit is determined largely by volume of water flow and "head," or the height from the water surface at the dam reservoir to the water surface downstream.

While the fuel is free and hydroelectric power produces no air emissions or waste, its use is limited because of the natural hydrological conditions it requires. There also can be ecological concerns, such as the impact on fish and other wildlife. We manage our dam operations to protect the aquatic environment, and at some facilities, improve recreational opportunities.

  1. Water backs up in a river...
  2. then falls through tubes in a dam...
  3. to turn the blades of huge turbines...
  4. which spin generators to create electricity.
  5. A transformer increases the voltage to send electricity over...
  6. distribution lines. Then transformers reduce the voltage...
  7. for you to use.

Hydro Safety

Safety will always be a priority for us and our customers. We have compiled resources such as dam precautions, procedures and other resources for those customers who may live or work near dams or flowing water.

Hydro Power Plants

Ames Hydro Plant Facts
Apple River Hydro Plant Facts
Cabin Creek Hydro Plant Facts
Cedar Falls Hydro Plant Facts
Georgetown Hydro Plant Facts
Hennepin Island Hydro Plant Facts
Menomonie Hydro Plant Facts
Riverdale Hydro Plant Facts
Salida Hydro Plant Facts
Shoshone Hydro Plant Facts
St. Croix Falls Hydro Plant Facts
Tacoma Hydro Plant Facts

Hydro Power Resources

Energy Classroom
Dam Failure Inundation River Maps

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Energy Saving Tip

Install ceiling fans to keep cool air circulating so you can turn down your air conditioner. Still, make sure to turn off your fan when you leave the room.

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Break Ground, Not the Law

Always call 811 before digging in your yard to avoid hitting buried gas or electric lines. Not only is it the safe thing to do, but it's the law.