River current technologies generate electricity by harnessing the flow of moving water. River current, like tidal energy, generates electricity as a function of the amount of water and the speed of the current.
A river current (or hydrokinetic) device is not a dam in the sense that it does not generate electricity by storing water in a reservoir and creating a height differential. The kinetic energy of moving water is captured by generators positioned directly in rivers.
Rivers do not come to a halt; they continue to flow in one direction. As a result, rivers are a good source of base load supply.

The river resource in Canada is enormous: 340 gigawatts, more than three times the total installed capacity of all energy generating in the country. It’s also close at hand: many settlements, both urban and rural, are situated on or near rivers; by bringing generation closer to demand, infrastructure costs and transmission losses are reduced.

In Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, and Quebec, current river projects are in various phases of planning, implementation, and operation. Micro-scale advances are also possible with this technology.

Technology based on River Currents

A river current device is powered by the natural, kinetic flow of water, much like a little windmill under the water. The technology is still in its early stages, with a variety of designs in the works. However, taken as a whole, they already hold a lot of promise: a constant supply of energy at minimal investment and maintenance costs.

River current devices are best deployed in resources that have relatively consistent flow rates throughout the year and aren’t prone to severe flooding, turbulence, or extended periods of low water levels. River current is proportional to water velocity: when water velocity twice, power generation multiplies by eight.


River current devices can be easily integrated with existing infrastructure, such as bridges and other manmade waterways (such as irrigation canals and aqueducts), to save money. Concrete is used to wall many canals, resulting in increased water velocities and more energy potential.

River current is also a viable alternative for isolated communities looking to transition away from diesel power generation. River current devices have the potential to be made, deployed, and maintained locally due to their low cost and durability — in isolated areas across Canada as well as in developed and emerging economies around the world.


River current has a number of benefits, including:

• Creating energy from a limited supply

• Ensuring consistent and dependable energy generation

• Extremely high capacity factors (between 65 and 95 percent), resulting in cheap energy costs

• Hydropower has a significantly larger environmental footprint.

• Seasonal synchronicity: in the winter, both river flows and electrical consumption are high.



You might create a small hydropower system to generate electricity if you have water flowing through your land. Microhydropower systems may provide up to 100 kilowatts of power. Microhydropower systems include the majority of hydropower systems utilised by households and small company owners, including farmers and ranchers. A 10-kilowatt microhydropower system, on the other hand, may typically power a big house, a small resort, or a hobby farm.


Moving water is used to generate hydroelectric electricity.

Hydroelectric power stations are frequently built on or near a water source because water is the source of hydroelectric power. The amount of accessible energy in moving water is determined by the volume of the water flow and the change in elevation—or fall, as it is commonly known to as head—from one location to another. The higher the head and the larger the water flow, the more energy a hydroelectric plant can generate.

Hydropower’s history

Hydropower is one of the oldest forms of mechanical and electrical energy, and it was the largest source of total annual renewable electricity output in the United States until 2019. Thousands of years ago, people utilised hydropower to grind grain by turning paddle wheels on rivers. Grain and lumber mills were powered directly with hydropower before steam power and electricity were available in the United States. In 1880, the Wolverine Chair Factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, used hydropower to power 16 brush-arc lights, making it the first industrial application of hydropower in the United States. On September 30, 1882, the first hydroelectric power plant in the United States to sell electricity opened near Appleton, Wisconsin, on the Fox River.

In the United States, there are around 1,450 conventional hydropower units and 40 pumped-storage hydropower plants in operation. The Whiting plant in Whiting, Wisconsin, is the country’s oldest functioning hydropower facility, having been in operation since 1891 and having a total generation capacity of around 4 megawatts (MW). The majority of hydroelectricity in the United States is generated by huge dams on major rivers, and the majority of these dams were built by federal government agencies before the mid-1970s. The Grand Coulee hydro dam on the Columbia River in Washington has a total generation capacity of 6,765 MW, making it the largest hydroelectric facility in the United States and the largest electric power plant in the United States.