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How the drought is hurting hydroelectric power generation in CA

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Hydroelectricity is completely dependent on reservoir levels, and the ongoing drought has depleted significantly water levels.

California has some 400 hydro plants, a majority of which are located in the eastern mountain ranges. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the state’s Department of Water Resources jointly run the larger dam-based plants in the state; while smaller plants are operated by utilities.

The California Independent System Operator manages about 80 percent of the state’s electric grid and gets over 13 percent of its electricity from large hydro plants.


Bob Weisenmiller, Chair, California Energy Commission

Jay Lund, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Director of the Center for Watershed Sciences, UC Davis. His areas of expertise includes the study of climate change and hydropower generation in the state