Niagara Falls is important because the site generates hydroelectricity. The formation of Niagara Falls is the result of water wearing away at rock formation, a process that began at the end of the Ice Age. During this time, water released from melting ice drained into what is now known as the Niagara River.
The use of Niagara Falls to generate electricity began as early as 1895, when the first large-scale hydroelectric power plant was built. It used the direct-current system and could generate electricity for up to 100 yards. A year later, engineer Nikola Tesla developed a more productive technique using an alternating-current induction motor. This method is still in use today and is considered the first long-distance commercial use of electricity. Electricity was first sold from the Schoelkopft Power Station, which is where the Niagara Gorge Discovery Center is located.
While Niagara Falls is an important source of power, it is also a popular tourist attraction. To preserve this balance, water flow is reduced at night to redirect it to sources where it can generate energy. This restriction is lifted during the day to give visitors a better view of the waterfall and enhance the experience of the attraction.