Hydroelectric Energy

Harnessing the power of water.


Duke Energy began its operations in the Carolinas as a hydroelectric company. Harnessing the water power of the Catawba River, the company’s first power plant provided electricity to the area’s emerging textile industry, and later, the region’s growing appetite for the convenience that electricity could provide. Today, we're the second largest investor-owned hydroelectric operator in the U.S.

In addition to ensuring a reliable supply of electricity for our customers, the lakes created by our hydroelectric facilities provide communities with recreational opportunities, such as boating, fishing and swimming. The lakes also sustain wildlife habitats and offer water sources for everyday use to local communities, including drinking water.

hydroelectric plant

Quick start-up times make hydroelectric plants ideally suited to provide peaking power. They can provide electricity in a matter of seconds when customer demand is high.

Safety around hydro stations and dams

Dams and spillways can be beautiful to look at, but the water immediately above (upstream) and immediately beneath (downstream) them is treacherous. Duke Energy reminds the public to observe these safety rules. They could save your life.

  • Watch for rising water levels.
  • Know where high ground is and move there quickly if you see or hear rapidly rising water.
  • Heed warning signs posted near threatening areas, and avoid boating and swimming in these areas.
  • Be especially cautious at night, the time of day most difficult to recognize the dangers.
  • Look for unusual swirling currents that can pull boats and people toward the dam and under the water.
  • Watch for strong currents, wear life jackets and stay alert to changing weather conditions.
  • Stay alert for partially submerged objects. High water can sweep heavy debris into the lakes.

Learn More About Our Hydroelectric Plants

Learn More About High Water and Dam Safety

Learn More About Dam and Lake Level Basics

Our hydroelectric power plants in the U.S. provide approximately 3,525 megawatts of renewable energy.

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