How Nikola Tesla Harnessed The Power Of Niagara Falls

Can you imagine if we were still walking around at night using candles to light our way, or heating our homes only by fire? Sure, it’s romantic and nostalgic to do that once in a while, but at the end of the day, society would look extremely different without the use of electricity.

advertisement - learn more Nikola Tesla was one of the geniuses who played an integral role in creating modern electricity, so you have him along with many other scientists to thank! Tesla worked with Edison on electromagnetism, played a hand in inventing the radio, and is well-known for his work with alternating current (AC), AC motors, and polyphase distribution system. In fact, Tesla and industrialist George Westinghouse developed the first hydroelectric power plant using Niagara Falls.


The first hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls

If you’ve never been to Niagara Falls, it’s quite a sight to see. The CE team lives in Ontario, so we’ve had the pleasure of seeing it up close, and it’s pretty miraculous. However, it’s arguably even more astounding that Nikola Tesla had the idea of utilizing the power from this magnificent waterfall to generate electricity in the first place. The power generated by the Falls can be done through a process called hydroelectricity. Hydroelectricity refers to the generation of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force caused by falling or flowing water. In this case, the source of the flowing or falling water is Niagara Falls. This wasn’t exactly a random thought for Tesla either, as he had always dreamed of generating energy by harnessing the power from the Falls. It wasn’t until 1893 that his dream became a reality when Westinghouse was awarded the contract to develop the plant. This wasn’t exactly a small dream either, as Tesla was a supporter of alternating current (AC) as opposed to direct current (DC), which was what society was leaning towards using at the time. In fact, there were proposals submitted for this power project to use DC, including one backed by Thomas Edison. It’s a good thing that the Niagara Falls Commission agreed to allow Tesla to use AC because it’s far more powerful and safer to transfer over longer distances, as AC is what we use now to power entire cities.

Thank you, Ron