Hydropower in New York

New York is the largest hydroelectric power producer east of the Rocky Mountains and is fourth in the nation in the generation of electricity from hydropower. More than 300 hydroelectric generating stations – some very small, a few very large and many in between — connect to New York’s electric grid. Hydro plants typically meet at least 17 percent of the state’s total electricity demand with renewable, clean and inexpensive power.

In a hydroelectric power plant, turbines that are run by moving water generate electricity with no greenhouse gas emissions and little pollution of any kind. Hydropower has provided electricity to New York since the first generating plant opened at Niagara Falls more than a century ago. Reliable and able to quickly increase or decrease power output, hydro generation helps to stabilize the electric grid and support less-flexible sources of renewable energy. Some facilities even can store energy for later use.

Hydropower is among the most cost effective of all electricity sources, because its “fuel” – flowing water – is local and is replenished whenever it rains or snows, the price of hydroelectricity usually remains stable even as markets for other fuels fluctuate.Hydropower generation converts the energy of moving water into electricity. A wide choice of technologies and scales gives hydro the ability to meet both large centralized urban electricity needs and decentralized rural needs.

Today, conventional hydropower stations generate nearly nine-tenths of all the renewable energy produced in New York. The New York Power Authority (NYPA) owns the two biggest plants, the Niagara River and St. Lawrence Power Projects. These two publicly-owned plants contribute far and away the largest share of New York’s total hydroelectricity generation. The remainder of New York’s hydroelectricity comes from numerous small plants, a few owned by NYPA or municipal governments, some by institutions or industries, and many others by private companies whose business is selling electricity to the grid. A 2011 enumeration found a total of 345 conventional hydropower station units operating in the state.

Hydropower Station
Hydropower Station


6 thoughts on “Hydropower in New York

  1. I’d like to inquire it riparian rights are available for private interests for the development of hydropower on the Susquehanna River in Owego, New York … or if hydropower is currently being developed on / from the Susquehanna River in Owego, New York?

  2. Having worked a Niagara Mohawk when we owned hydro plants. I can tell with complete confidence that every river in NYS that has enough Potential Energy; flowrate or vertical drop, has a commercial sized dam on the river. Niagara Falls is the ultimate example of vertical drop, while Saunders-Moses dam at Massena (St. Lawrence river) is example of flow rate. Many environmental regulations an many political energy goals regulate how all the NYS hydro plants operate. But the much larger factor is the NYS weather, snowfall, rainfall, and temperatures.

  3. it’s crazy think about how 300 total Hydropower stations only make up to 17% of NY’s demand. Greetings from Mongolia, it was very informative and interesting to read , keep up the good work

  4. Thank you for your post and for taking the time to write about hydropower in New York! It is indeed impressive how much energy is generated from just a few hundred hydropower stations, and it highlights the potential for renewable energy sources to play a significant role in meeting our energy needs. It’s great to see interest in sustainable energy solutions from all over the world.
    The Aswan High Dam, located in Egypt on the Nile River where i from, is one of the largest dams in the world. The dam was built in the 1960s with the primary purpose of controlling the annual flooding of the Nile River and providing a reliable source of hydroelectric power.
    The power station at the Aswan High Dam has a capacity of 2.1 gigawatts, making it one of the largest hydroelectric power stations in Africa. The station has twelve generators, each with a capacity of 175 megawatts. The power generated by the station is used to supply electricity to homes, businesses, and industries throughout Egypt.

  5. Are there hydroelectric power plants that operate in the Hudson Valley? I would like to take students to tour a plant. Thanks for your help.

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