Tuesday Open Line

On this date in 1882, the world’s first hydroelectric power plant began operating on the Fox River in Appleton, Wisconsin. Inspired by Thomas Edison, a man named H.F. Rogers built the facility using a water wheel to power the lights in the Appleton Paper and Pulp Company, a nearby building, and his home. Soon, hydroelectric power plants were spurring industrial growth in many parts of the country. Today, water-generated electricity accounts for around 6.75 percent of power in the U.S., coming from 384 hydroelectric power establishments. Nationally, 39 percent of the more than 4 trillion kilowatt hours of electricity generated is from coal-fired plants, followed by those using natural gas, and nuclear power. Profile America is in its 17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.