Profile America: Hydroelectric Power

Hydroelectric power generation. Courtesy: US Geological Survey.

Hydroelectric power generation. Courtesy: US Geological Survey.

On September 30 in 1882, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operating on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. Inspired by Thomas Edison, a man named H.F. Rogers built the facility, using a water-wheel to power the lights in the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company, a nearby building and his home. Soon, hydroelectric power plants were spurring industrial growth in many parts of the country.

Today, 423 hydroelectric power establishments across the U.S. produce about 7 percent of our electric power, but accounts for 44 percent of the total from renewable resources. Around 30 percent of the more than 4 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity generated is from coal-fired plants, trailing natural gas at 34 percent.

Profile America is in its 21st year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Print Friendly
Share this Article: