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Hydro Energy
Hydro energy is generated when the force of moving water spins the blades of a turbine to generate electricity. Currently, hydroelectricity is the world's overwhelming renewable energy of choice, supplying about 19 percent of the world's electricity! Hydro power also supplies an estimated 10 percent of electric generating capacity in the United States via dams and turbines.

Low impact hydro, a form of hydropower that minimizes negative impact on the environment, is increasingly being chosen for development of new dams or expansion of old ones. These smaller scale hydropower systems can be installed in small rivers or streams with little or no discernable environmental effect. What qualifies as a low impact hydro system? According to the Low Impact Hydropower Institute (LIHI), the facility must meet criteria in the following eight areas:

  • River flows
  • Water quality
  • Fish passage and protection
  • Watershed protection
  • Threatened and endangered species protection
  • Cultural resource protection
  • Recreation
  • Facilities recommended for removal

For additional information on hydro energy, including new research developments in wave and tidal technology, visit: U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Program