What hydropower is:

  • Hydropower is power created by changing the energy of moving water into a useful form of energy.
    • Hydropower is a renewable resource because it will never be used up.

How hydropower is produced:

Hydropower in North Dakota:

Open gates of the Garrison Dam
The Flood of 2011: During the 2011 flood was the only time that all 28 gates of the Garrison Dam were opened. Photo courtesy of Basin Electric Power Cooperative.
  • The Garrison Dam is the only producer of hydropower in North Dakota.
    • The Garrison Dam has five turbines.
      • The dam produces an average of 2.0 billion (2, 000,000,000) kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.
An aerial view of Garrison Dam
An aerial view of Garrison Dam: An aerial picture of Lake Sakakawea and the Garrison Dam. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
  • The Garrison Dam is the fifth largest earth-filled dam in the United States.
    • The dam is 2½ miles long and 210 feet high.
    • The reservoir of Garrison Dam is Lake Sakakawea (sah-kah-kah-WE-ah).
    • It is the third largest reservoir in the United States and the largest lake in North Dakota.

How hydropower affects the people of North Dakota:

  • Hydropower is a renewable and reliable energy resource for the state.
    • About five percent of the electric power generated in North Dakota is from the Garrison Dam.
  • Job opportunities are available in many fields relating to the hydropower industry in North Dakota.
  • Lake Sakakawea, the reservoir of Garrison Dam, also provides opportunities for work.
    • Lake Sakakawea is a recreation area where people enjoy fishing camping, and water sports.