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Hydropower

Hydro energy is produced by turbines that leverage the flow of natural or artificial bodies of water to generate electricity. Hydropower is the top energy source in Canada, accounting for over 60% of electricity generation and produces no greenhouse gases or emissions.

Did you know?

Hydropower is among the world’s oldest power sources and has been used by farmers since ancient Greece for mechanical activities like grain grinding.

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Basics of Hydropower

Hydropower has made life easier and safer for Canadians by allowing our nation to satisfy it’s energy needs. Over the years, hydro electricity has helped to enable the an established a modern economy by opening up isolated regions, attracting companies, stimulating economic growth, nurturing innovation, and producing world-class human capital. Hydropower, which relies on the renewable resource of water, has contributed to Canada’s economic development by without polluting the air or water that is critical for our survival.

How much energy can be generated by Hydropower?

Hydropower has long been considered the most energy and resource efficient methods to generate electricity. Modern hydro turbines can transform as much as 90% of available energy into electricity. In comparison, typical fossil fuel plants are only about 50% energy efficient. In addition, hydropower is also notable for it’s track record with reliability.

Hydropower is a cornerstone of Canada’s economy and provides approximately 60% of the electricity used from coast to coast. That’s a lot of energy! In fact, there is over 74,000 mW of installed capacity across 500 facilities, producing over 355 tWh per year. Hydropower facilities have an extremely long service life, which can be extended by technological upgrades. There are multiple hydro electric generation facilities in Canada that are over 100 years old! That’s a lot of years! 

What are the costs of Hydropower?

When compared with other sources of energy, hydropower has proven to be amongst the most cost-effective. Hydropower, by leveraging the power of gravity and natural abundance of water, can produce electricity at a cheaper cost than any other source of energy. In comparison to other energy sources, hydropower has comparatively low maintenance, operations, and fuel expenses throughout the course of a project’s lifetime. Although significant capital expenditures are expected during the initial stages (as with every energy project), these costs can be amortized over the lifespan of the hydroelectric plant.

What are the benefits of Hydropower?

For thousands of years, people have identified and utilized the possibilities of hydropower. Hydropower facilities, in addition to being a sustainable and cost-effective source of energy, can deliver power to the grid quickly, making them a versatile and dependable backup power source during significant power outages or interruptions. Apart from electricity generation, hydropower provides a variety of services, including flood control, agricultural support, and water supply.

Sustainable

Assists with energy storage, floods control and irrigation supply

Emission-Free

Produces no emissions or greenhouse gases whatsoever

Cost Effective

Most efficient source of electricity generation available
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    Commonly asked questions about Hydro Energy

    Hydropower FAQs

    Hydropower is a renewable energy source that produces power by using a dam to adjust the natural water flow. Hydropower is heavily reliant on the continuous recharging system of the water cycle to generate electricity, using its fuel, water, that is not eliminated or reduced throughout the process.
    In a hydroelectric powerplant, the power source, water, is used to rotate a propeller-like object called a turbine, which then rotates a metal shaft in an electric generator. This electric generator is the motor that produces the electricity.
    The costs of hydropower can differ depending on site conditions. On average, with current technology, the cost ranges from $1500 to $2500 per kWh of installation capacity. In systems that are less than 5 kWh in power output, the cost per kWh is approximately $2500 or more due to its smaller size and cost of additional components, such as a battery bank and an inverter.
    Humans have been using water to perform work for thousands of years. However, in the past century, various new innovations have allowed hydropower to become an essential piece in the renewable energy mix.
    A benefit hydropower provides is it plays a large role in the fight against climate change by providing necessary power, storage, and flexibility services. It is also a renewable, clean, and domestic energy source, which generates various economical and environmental benefits.
    Hydropower is used from coast to coast in Canada and amounts for 60% of our total electricity. Canada is the fourth largest hydroelectricity generator in the world and has over 500 stations between each coast. Much like highways, river systems, and telecom cables, hydroelectric generation stations are a crucial part of our national interconnectedness.
    Yes, hydropower is renewable. It relies on the earths natural water cycles kinetic energy to produce electricity, qualifying it to be renewable. It has a 90% efficiency rate in converting the kinetic energy to electricity, zero fuels are burnt, and no direct emissions are released, so it is an extremely clean form of energy.
    Yes, hydropower can be used at smaller scales. Small-scale hydropower has been used as a common way of producing electricity in more isolated regions since the end of the 19th century. Small-scale hydropower can be installed in small rivers, streams, or in pre-existing water supply networks such as drinking water or wastewater networks.