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Although Maine ranked 16th in the nation in total hydroelectric generation in 2021, hydropower's share of in-state generation, at more than one-fourth, was second to Vermont's among the states east of the Mississippi River and eighth among all the states.21 Maine's many rivers powered the mills used by the state's early lumber industry. By the mid-1980s, the state was home to nearly 800 dams, many of which were capable of generating electricity. Since then, hydroelectric dam owners and conservationists have agreed to remove some dams to restore natural river flows and fish migrations and to increase turbine generating capacity at others.22,23 As of 2022, there were 51 licensed hydroelectric power plants in the state with about 726 megawatts of capacity, 15% of which is more than a century old.24 Maine has further undeveloped hydroelectric potential.25 The state also has supported ocean energy research for more than a decade. In 2014, the first tidal-generated power delivered to the U.S. electricity grid came from a pilot project in Maine's Cobscook Bay. More recently, a project in central Maine that will generate power from river and tidal currents is in development.26,27

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