Hydroelectricity in Canada
According to the International Hydropower Association, Canada is the world's fourth largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world in 2021 after the United States, Brazil, and China. In 2014, Canada consumed the equivalent of 85.7 megatonnes worth of oil of hydroelectricity, 9.8% of worldwide hydroelectric consumption. Furthermore, hydroelectricity accounted for 25.7% of Canada's total energy consumption (37.3% of non-oil sources). It is the third-most consumed energy in Canada behind oil and natural gas (30.9% and 28.1% of total consumption, respectively).
Some provinces and territories, such as British Columbia, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Yukon produce over 90% of their electricity from Hydro. All of the dams with large reservoirs were completed before 1990, since then most development has been run-of-the-river, both large and small. Natural Resources Canada calculates the current installed small hydro capacity is 3,400 MW, with an estimated potential of 15,000 MW. A report on the future of hydroelectricity, suggests the remaining 78% potential will remain undeveloped up to 2050, citing a lack of public acceptance. The widespread usage of hydroelectricity, including being incorporated into electric utility names such as Toronto Hydro or BC Hydro, has led to "hydro" being used in some parts of Canada to refer to electricity in general, regardless of source.
As of 2019, Canada had 81 GW of installed hydroelectric capacity, producing about 400 TWh of electricity.
|province/territory||installed capacity (MW)|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||7,775.8|
|Prince Edward Island||0|
BC Hydro owns and operates the majority of hydroelectric installations in British Columbia. A second crown corporation, Columbia Power Corporation and two companies also own large dams in BC, Alcan's Kemano Project and FortisBC.
Over 80% of BC Hydro's installed in generating capacity is at hydroelectric installations in the Peace and Columbia river basins. The GM Shrum and Peace Canyon generating stations are on the Peace River produced 29% of BC Hydro's electricity requirements. In the Columbia River Basin, Mica and Revelstoke hydroelectric plants together contributed 25%, while Kootenay Canal and Seven Mile generating stations together supplied 10%.
The remaining 25 hydroelectric generating stations supplied 14% of electricity production. BC Hydro also operates thermal power plants. The Burrard Thermal Generating Station contributes 7.5% and the remaining 14.5% of the electricity requirement was supplied by purchases and other transactions.
BC Hydro's last dam was completed in 1984, since then run-of-the-river projects with private partners have been built. Power production without reservoirs varies dramatically through the year, so older dams with large reservoirs, retain water and average out capacity. As of 2012, there were approximately 40 small hydro sites generating 750 MW. By 2014 various companies have built a total of 100 run of the river projects under 50 MW. In 2014 they produced 18,000 GWh from 4,500 MW of capacity.
As of March 31, 2018, Manitoba Hydro serves a peak Manitoba electrical load of 5,648 megawatts. Electrical supply to Manitoba customers was 22.5 terawatt-hours in fiscal 2017, with total revenue due to electricity of $1.464 billion CAD. Extraprovincial sales totaled $437 million in 2017-18 and were at 9.448 terawatt-hours, with normal water flows. The company also delivered 2.048 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2017–18, which contributed $346 million CAD to revenues. As of early 2020, around 97% of the electricity generation in Manitoba comes from hydroelectricity.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro's installed generating capacity, 7775 megawatts (MW), 92 percent hydroelectric, is the third largest of all utility companies in Canada.
The Northwest Territories has an installed hydroelectric generating capacity of 55 MW, supplying electricity to the North Slave and South Slave electricity grids. Each grid operates independently and is not connected to the electrical grid in the rest of Canada.
Ontario Power Generation (OPG) Produces 50% of the electricity used in the province, 40% from hydroelectric, 10% from nuclear-powered facilities, 30% from solar, and 20% from biomass. OPG uses thermal plants that burn biomass and natural gas with a generating capacity of 2,458 MW; these plants were not used in 2015.
After a provincial government commitment to phase out all coal generating plants, two units at Nanticoke were shut down in fall 2010. Another two were shut down in 2011. The final four were shut down on December 31, 2013.
Hydro-Québec's extensive network of 61 hydroelectric dams have a combined capacity of 38,400 megawatts, accounting for over half of the Canadian total. Hydropower accounts for 95.73% of the supply sold by the Quebec Crown-owned utility. Five of Hydro-Québec's hydroelectric facilities are rated above 2,000 MW — the Manic-5, La Grande-4, La Grande-3 La Grande-2-A and Robert-Bourassa stations — while 7 others have a capacity of over 1,000 megawatts.
The Lower Churchill Project is a planned hydroelectric project in Labrador and includes the Muskrat Falls Generation Facility with a total generating capacity of 824 MW in 2021. The proposed Gull Island facility would consist of a generation station with a capacity of 2,250 MW after 2023.
The Romaine River project in Quebec started construction in 2009 and will have a capacity of 1550 MW by 2020.
The Site C dam on the Peace River in British Columbia will have a capacity of 1100 MW in 2024.
|Population (thousands)||Area (km2)||Renewable freshwater resources||Total water withdrawal (km3) per year||Gross Domestic Product (millions of $ U.S.)||Gross Domestic Product ($ U.S.) per capita|
|Volume (km3)||Volume (m3) per capita||Volume (m3) per unit area (m2)|
Inside the Robert-Bourassa generating station powerhouse, the largest in North America with an installed capacity of 5,616 MW.
The Daniel-Johnson Dam, on Quebec's Manicouagan River (1968)
The 204-MW Rapide-Blanc generating station, on Quebec's Saint-Maurice River (1934)
- List of electrical generating stations in Canada
- Renewable energy in Canada
- Wind power in Canada
- Solar power in Canada
- Geothermal power in Canada
- Renewable energy by country
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In many parts of Canada, 'hydro' refers to electricity
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