Dam You, River

Hydroelectric power provides a decent portion of America’s electricity (6.8%, in fact), but it wasn’t always so.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the first hydroelectric power plant began operating on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin in 1882.

Inspired by Thomas Edison, a man named H.F. Rogers built the facility, using a water wheel to power the lights in the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company, a nearby building, and his home.

Soon, hydroelectric power plants were spurring industrial growth in many parts of the country.

There are currently (pun intended) 412 hydroelectric power establishments across the U.S.

While they produce 6.8% of our power, they account for nearly half of the total from renewable resources.

This is perhaps a sad commentary on our use of renewables, but there you have it.

Around 33 percent of the more than 4 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, followed closely by those using natural gas, then nuclear power.

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