Hydropower has these advantages over alternative fuels:
- Renewable The earth provides a continual supply of water from rainfall and snowmelt.
- Efficient Hydropower converts about 90 percent of falling water's energy into electricity.
- Clean Hydropower plants don't emit waste heat and gases.
- Reliable Hydropower machinery is relatively simple, making it reliable and durable.
- Flexible Units can start quickly and adjust rapidly to changes in electricity demand.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has 375 main generating units, plus a number of "house units" that only provide power to run the internal systems of our powerhouses (these are called "Station service Units"). Our smallest units are 1 megawatt or less, but most of our units are much larger. Our largest unit can produce 220 megawatts.
Our powerhouses range from having a single small generating unit,up to having to 27 huge units (the powerhouse at that plant is nearly a half-mile long!). All of our units combined have the capacity to generate 21,000 megawatts--making the Corps of Engineers the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the U.S.
With that amount of production, the sale of hydroelectric power generated from Corps-operated units returns a significant amount of revenue to the U.S. Treasury each year.