May 28, 2020

Energy 101: The Wonders of Water

Hydropower is the most abundant energy source in the Northwest. It’s also reliable and renewable, thanks to the benefits and predictability of our planet and the path that water takes as it is “recycling” itself over and over. 

The water that drives the Northwest’s hydroelectric generators comes from rain and snow further upstream that falls within the Columbia River Basin – a vast area that begins in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and flows down through most of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana.  After passing through turbines, the water continues to flow downstream, unchanged, before it’s eventually recycled.
Hydropower operators monitor the snowpack, temperature, precipitation, storms and droughts daily, as well as wind and solar energy outputs. This information helps them plan for near and long-term energy availability for the Northwest.  

Monitoring snowpack and the streamflow is no small feat; the amount and timing can vary significantly year-to-year and requires the collaboration of multiple agencies and teams.  We are thankful for an abundant supply of water to provide hydroelectric power throughout the year and meet our energy demands. 

For more on how water is leading the charge for the Northwest to realize its clean energy potential go to