Canadian Hydro Beyond

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Hydroelectric Power

Flowing river water gives off kinetic energy, which can convert into energy with the help of a turbine. Presently, hydropower is the critical source of usable power generated from moving or flowing water.

To create hydroelectricity, water is moved towards a turbine’s blades, giving it the ability to spin and cause a generator to rotate. As a result, it generates electricity.

The power extracted from moving water is based on the speed and volume of water. Canada started with 542 hydropower stations in 2014 with 78,359 MW of installed capacity. The stations had 379 hydropower facilities with less than or equal to 50 MW, representing a total of roughly 4.6% of installed capacity in the country.

Hydroelectric stations have generated about 378.8 TWh in Canada in the same year, contributing to 59.3% of the country’s electricity generation.

Note that Canada comes second globally when it comes to producing hydroelectric power. Moreover, hydroelectric facilities continue to be developed in Canada, especially in Quebec.

Other locations generating significant amounts of hydroelectric power include Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, and British Columbia.

History and Present Time

In 1946, the demand for thermal and hydropower installations was increasing. That growth continued by at least 10% (in certain areas or regions) until the 1970s. In 1973, the energy crisis affecting several countries had an impact on economic activities, leading to a decrease in electric-power consumption annually.

Between 1920 and 1950, hydroelectric stations contributed 90% of Canada’s generating capacity. However, the share of hydropower declined after that, going below 60% in 1976. The decline happened because thermal-generating stations fueled by fossil fuels offered a less costly alternative. Also, hydropower sites were only close to areas with a major population, increasing transmission cost.

However, in the early years of the 1970s, the price of other electrical power sources, such as thermal stations using coal, nuclear power, natural gas, oil, has risen significantly. In 2018, about 61% of Canada’s electrical generation came from hydro sources. Other sources came from other renewable sources (wind, solar, geothermal, etc.), petroleum, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.