Hydroelectric generation in the U.S. is projected to grow 4 percent this year over 2019 levels despite drought and wildfires in the West, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported Sept. 11.
As of November, 14 counties in Oregon and four in Idaho have declared drought emergencies, but the droughts "aren't expected to have noticeable impacts on hydroelectric power production because reservoirs in the region have stored water from near-normal to above-normal precipitation in recent years," the EIA said.
At the end of August, storage in Idaho, Montana and Washington reservoirs was at or above the 1981-2010 average. Oregon reservoirs, however, were at 37 percent of maximum capacity, below the historic norm of 45 percent, according to EIA figures.
Generation in all the Northwest states this year has been within the 10-year (2010-2019) historical range, except for April generation in Oregon, which was 10 percent below the range, the EIA said.
"If the 2021 water year has near-normal precipitation levels, impacts from this drought could be minimal," the agency said.
The four Northwest states generated 47 percent of U.S. hydropower in the first half of 2020, according to EIA figures.