Hydropower Program(Our site is currently being converted to a new template. Not all pages have been converted yet and we appreciate your understanding while we continue this process.)
Roles and Responsibilities
The Bureau of Reclamation has a long and successful history providing renewable, clean, reliable, and affordable hydropower to its customers. As the operating environment has evolved over the past century, Reclamation has adapted, leveraging new technologies and partnerships to meet the nation’s water and energy needs.
In total, Reclamation holds title to 76 hydroelectric powerplants. Of the 76, Reclamation operates 53 hydroelectric powerplants, comprising over 14 million kilowatts of installed capacity. Generation from the 53 plants rank Reclamation as the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the U.S., accounting for 15 percent of the Nation's annual hydropower output. Annually, Reclamation operated plants generate over 40 billion kilowatt hours of electricity (enough to meet the demand of 3.5 million U.S. homes), produce nearly one billion dollars in power revenues, and offset approximately 23 million tons of carbon dioxide. Since 1909, when our first power plant started operation, power revenues have provided more than $10 billion in repayment to the U.S. Treasury.
The remaining 23 plants are "transferred works" - the operation and maintenance of these plants is carried out by a non-federal entity, under the provisions of a formal operation and maintenance transfer contract. 5 of the 23 "transferred works" plants generate power that is marketed by Power Marketing Administrations. The 5 plants are: Deer Creek, McPhee, Towaoc, O'Neill, and San Luis.
The 53 plants owned and operated by Reclamation - as well as the 5 "transferred works" plants that generate power marketed by Power Marketing Administrations - are identified in the map below.
Hydropower plants are the most efficient energy-producing plants, operating at 85 to 90 percent efficiency -- more than twice that of fossil-fueled plants. Hydropower plants are important in meeting peak power demands because they can quickly adjust to changes in peak loads. Two important services we provide are voltage support and spinning reserve. Find out more about the services we provide and the customers we serve.
Also see our report titled "Reclamation's Role in Hydropower" for more information.
Organization and Staffing
The Bureau of Reclamation is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. At the head of our organization is the Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. Our Power Resources Office develops and coordinates policy, provides advice, and assists in managing Reclamation's power program. Our Regional and Area Offices oversee the operation of our individual power facilities. We provide information about the organization, staffing, responsibilities, and contacts for these offices.
Below is a brief description of our Power Resources Office staff, and links to staff directories.
Manager, Power Resources Office
P.O. Box 25007, Bldg 67, 86-51000
Denver, CO 80225-0007
FAX (303) 445-6693
New InitiativesExplore Opportunities for Additional Capacity- There may be opportunities for Reclamation to add capacity through in river generation at existing facilities, upgrades at existing facilities, or efficiency enhancements of generation and pumping facilities. These opportunities will be catalogued and evaluated.
Increased Focus on Reclamation Power Facility Reliability - Reclamations hydro plants are a keystone in the reliability and stability of the Western Interconnected System. The reliability of our plants is and must continue to be the focus of our Operation and Maintenance (O&M) efforts. Reclamation plants are an average of 50 years old. Reclamation is exploring Reliability Centered Maintenance and Life Extensions in order to assure continued reliability of our plants.
We provide fact sheets for each of our powerplant facilities, as well as summary statistics for them.here.