The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) expects U.S. hydropower generation to decline 14 percent amid 2021 drought.

Extreme and exceptional drought conditions affected much of the western United States, especially California and states in the Pacific Northwest, which are home to the majority of U.S. hydropower capacity.

The Pacific Northwest’s Columbia River is the fourth-largest river in the United States by volume. Its watershed, the Columbia River Basin, covers large parts of four states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. In 2020, hydropower plants in these states generated 136 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity, representing 54% of U.S. hydropower generation that year.

After dry conditions and a record-breaking heat wave affected large parts of the Columbia River Basin this summer, drought emergencies were declared in counties across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

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