The earliest hydro electric power station in Uttarakhand was installed at Gailogi for supply of power to Mussoorie town as early as in 1914. A beginning was made in this regard in the 1st decade of 20th Century with the installation of a 450 KW power station at Bahadrabad on Upper Ganga canal exclusively for the supply of power for the construction of Bhimgoda headwork of the canal system at Hardwar. A Hydroelectric survey of Ganga Valley was carried out and a report was submitted by Lyle in 1922. Regular program for utilization of a number of falls on the Ganga canal to generate electric power for Irrigation pumping and electrification of towns fructified later with the commissioning of Pathari power house with 3 units of 6.8 MW each in 1955-56. Uttarakhand can thus, be truly considered as one of the pioneer in the country in utilization of low head canal falls for hydro power generations.
In the early years after independence the country was faced with severe food shortage, therefore, emphasis was given on execution of river valley projects for Irrigation and power for development. An important power project Yamuna stage I was taken up in Dehradun District, which was a run-of-the river power scheme on river Yamuna having two powerhouses at Dhakrani (33.75 MW) and Dhalipur (51 MW). It was followed by Yamuna stage II, part I & part II having installed capacity of 360 MW and Yamuna stage IV, part I & part II totaling installed capacity of 102 MW, in river Yamuna. Similarly Maneri Bhalli stage I having installed capacity of 90 MW and Chilla hydro electric power project with installed capacity of 144 MW on river Ganga were commissioned in 1985. Another landmark was construction of Kalagarh dam on river Ram Ganga by 1976 which was storage project having installed capacity of 198 MW.
Lakhwar Vyasi project on river Yamuna having proposed capacity of 420 MW is held up due to paucity of funds and practically no work is going on the projects for the last 10 years. It is remarkable to note that 60% work on the project had been completed when the construction on the project was brought to a grinding halt. Similarly Vishnu Prayag hydro electric project having proposed capacity of 402 MW and Srinagar hydro electric power project with proposed capacity of 330 MW remained suspended on some account of financial crisis for a very long time. Ultimately these projects were assigned to the private sector but the progress on Vishnu Prayag project was very slow and Srinagar project is yet to start. Another important project on river Bhagirathi known as Tehri Dam project (2400 MW) was also held up for want of funds and ultimately it was handed over to Tehri Hydro Electric Power Corporation, which is a joint venture of Govt. of India and Govt. of U.P. It is likely that the 1st phase of 1000 MW installed capacity may be commissioned very soon. Rehabilitation works of Tehri Damp Project are being carried out by Uttarakhand Irrigation Deptt.