Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Overview of Hydroelectric Power

Professor Michael A. Celia, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Princeton University
Friend Center, 109
Monday, March 3, 2014 - 7:30pm

Large hydroelectric dams were constructed throughout the 20th century, and hydroelectric power currently provides roughly 7% of the total electric power produced in the United States. Despite great increases in wind and solar installations, hydropower is still the largest source of renewable electric power in the United States. The development of hydropower, and more generally the development of engineered structures, have had profound impacts on every major river basin in the country. This development coincided with major political and social changes, with the rise of new federal agencies, and with some of the most spectacular engineering achievements in history. In this lecture we will revisit the history of large dams, with a focus on the United States. We will also consider dams and hydropower through the current lens of environmental protection, and place hydropower in the context of our overall power system.