Something as simple as moving water can be used to generate electricity. And, since water is continually replenished through natural cycles, it is a wonderful renewable energy resource. This power is called hydropower and is used on a large scale to generate electricity for customers across Arizona.

Hydropower, which is one of the most economical forms of renewable energy, supplies about 12 percent of Arizona’s electricity. Hydropower is a very clean resource because it produces no emissions. In addition it doesn’t require fuel, transportation or expensive pollution control equipment.

How it works

To generate electricity, a large dam is built, behind which water collects in a lake or reservoir. This large body of water has mass and, when released, produces a very powerful force. That force is then harnessed and used to turn the blades of a large turbine, which, in turn, generates electricity.

Hydropower facilities can be built at almost any scale, from small ‘micro-hydro’ applications to large systems of more than 2,000 MW. Hydro applications can be found almost anywhere that water flows, from the wilderness to urban areas, from large rivers to small streams or canals.