CONTACT: WAPA – Lisa Meiman, mediarelations@wapa.gov, 720-962-7411

Reclamation – Marlon Duke, mduke@usbr.gov, 385-228-4845

LAKEWOOD, Colo. – Western Area Power Administration and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation joined forces between Aug. 14 and 19 to generate and transmit roughly 5,400 megawatt-hours in response to California’s energy emergency. 

The two federal agencies are responsible for generating, marketing and transmitting hydropower from federally owned hydroelectric dams to local utilities and markets. In an emergency situation, the hydropower can be called upon to limit outages and stabilize the grid. 

Reclamation generated the power using its fleet of federal hydroelectric dams in the West, including, among others, 18 dams in the Central Valley Project in northern California; Glen Canyon Dam in Page, Arizona; Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada; Morrow Point Dam in western Colorado; Davis Dam in Arizona; and Parker Dam in California. 

WAPA then transmitted the energy via its high-voltage transmission system into the California Independent System Operator’s service territory, while continuing to reliably serve WAPA’s customer loads. WAPA’s Sierra Nevada region provided more than 3,300 MWh, while the Colorado River Storage Project provided nearly 1,900 MWh and Desert Southwest provided more than 200 MWh.

In some cases, WAPA was able to offset this generation and continue to meet its customers’ demand by increasing hydropower output from other dams to provide power to local areas. 

Hydroelectric dams are crucial sources of reserve energy in case of system emergencies. The large reservoirs, such as Lake Mead and Lake Powell, function as enormous batteries and can quickly dispatch a large amount of electricity on the grid. WAPA and Reclamation have plans in place with a number of utilities to provide emergency power from federal hydroelectric powerplants.   


About WAPA: Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 25,000 gigawatt-hours of clean, renewable power from 57 federal hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and International Boundary and Water Commission in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy. Follow us on Twitter @WesternAreaPowr or visit the website at www.wapa.gov.   

About Reclamation: The Bureau of Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier in the United States, and the nation’s second largest producer of hydroelectric power. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR and @ReclamationCVP. 

Last modified on September 12th, 2023