fedgazette

Hydro in the Ninth District

Published October 14, 2011  |  October 2011 issue

Since 1999, the hydropower share of electricity production has generally declined in the district—by as much as a third in some states.

That is partly due to two reasons. First, hydropower has seen little expansion over the years, while energy production and consumption have risen significantly since 1999. Second, hydropower depends on river flows, and the years of drought in the Dakotas and Montana have had an impact on its production. That influence can be seen in 2010 figures, which increased dramatically in the Dakotas, taking advantage of a high-water year in the Missouri River basin.

Hydro in the Ninth District

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Hydropower’s share of a state’s electricity production is also a bit misleading because some states are major power exporters. South Dakota produces about three times the hydropower as its northern sibling, but hydropower’s share of state electricity production is more than 10 times higher (54 percent versus 4 percent, respectively). That’s because North Dakota’s vast coal reserves have made it a major producer (and exporter) of power.

The federal government defines energy in “megawatt hours,” or MWh. One MWh is 1 million watt hours.

 

MONTANA

Production in 2009
9,505,940 MWh
Production in 2010
9,230,000 MWh

Percent of total electricity production from hydro (2009)

35.6 percent
 

NORTH DAKOTA

Production in 2009
1,475,251 MWh
Production in 2010
2,042,000 MWh

Percent of total electricity production from hydro (2009)

4.3 percent
 

SOUTH DAKOTA

Production in 2009
4,432,451 MWh
Production in 2010
5,765,000 MWh

Percent of total electricity production from hydro (2009)

54.1 percent
 

MINNESOTA

Production in 2009
809,000 MWh
Production in 2010
752,000 MWh

Percent of total electricity production from hydro (2009)

1.5 percent
 

WISCONSIN

Production in 2009
1,393,988 MWh
Production in 2010
1,392,000 MWh

Percent of total electricity production from hydro (2009)

2.3 percent

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