5 Reasons Americans Should Care about Canadian Hydropower
1. Hydropower is key to American Energy Independence and Security
Hydropower is a shared and integrated North American resource.
This source of reliable electricity helps Canada and the U.S. reduce dependency on foreign energy supplies. Canada, already a leader in hydropower generation has the potential to more than double its current capacity to help meet growing American energy demand while supporting clean energy objectives.
If only half of Canada’s total undeveloped potential was built and dedicated to powering plug-in electric vehicles, Canada could power its entire current light-duty vehicle fleet plus a full quarter of the current U.S. fleet with clean, renewable, secure hydropower.
New, abundant sources of baseload hydropower will be necessary if the U.S. is to develop its own secure and clean energy supply. As the only renewable form of baseload electricity, hydropower is essential to leading the transition away from unstable and volatile foreign energy sources while maximizing environmental benefits. Canada has abundant, clean and stable hydropower capacity.
2. Canadian Hydropower Delivers Competitive, Sustainable Energy and American Jobs
Approximately 1% of overall U.S. electricity is supplied by Canadian hydropower. Canadian hydro is a vital source of electricity in regions such as New York, New England, the Midwest and the Pacific Northwest.
The U.S. and Canada are each other’s largest trading partners and this relationship extends to energy. It is estimated that for every dollar the U.S. spends on Canadian energy, the U.S. receives 91 cents from products that Canadians buy from the U.S. Canadian hydropower is cost-competitive, which helps keep rates low for American customers. Just as it is in Canada, affordable energy is a key driver for economic development and job creation in the U.S. Drawing on hydro storage capacity, operators can increase or decrease production more rapidly from hydropower than from any other electricity source. This flexibility can help facilitate additional wind and solar power projects in the U.S., creating new, green, American jobs.
Communities serviced and supported by hydropower can attract industries precisely because of its unique operational and environmental attributes. For example, BMW automobiles recently chose to build its advanced carbon fiber manufacturing facility in the U.S. Pacific-Northwest specifically because the region is serviced by clean, renewable and competitive hydropower.
3. Hydropower is Clean and Renewable
Hydropower draws energy from falling or flowing water and converts it into electricity, without consuming, wasting or depleting water in the process.
Converting up to 95% of available energy into electricity, hydropower is one of the most efficient sources of electrical energy. By comparison, the best fossil fuel power plants are less efficient and convert only 60% of available energy into electricity.
Hydropower produces no air pollutants, and minimal greenhouse gases – the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has found that emissions from the construction and operation of a hydropower facility are comparable to other renewables such as wind power and many times less than natural gas. Together, Canadian and U.S. hydropower resources represent approximately 80% of total renewable electricity generation in North America and is estimated to avoid approximately 350 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year.
As in the U.S., Canadian hydropower projects face the most stringent environmental regulation and protection of any electricity generation source. Each stage of a project is assessed to avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate any impacts and to encourage positive outcomes for the environment.
4. 130 Years of Proven Technology, Hydropower Continues to Lead
Hydropower facilities have a long service life, which can be extended indefinitely through refurbishment and upgrades. Some operating facilities in North America are over 100 years and older.
Source: Hydro Quebec
Hydropower is essential in maintaining the stability of electricity supply on both sides of the U.S. – Canada border. It is a readily available energy source that guarantees rapid responses to changes in demand such as peaking or crisis management. Given its particular operational characteristics, Canadian hydropower ensures safe, secure and reliable electricity supply to both the U.S. and Canada.
Canadian hydropower developers are leaders in weather and climate change modeling research. The Canadian hydropower industry is focused on ensuring its ability to continue generating flexible, competitive and reliable electricity, even as the climate changes.
5. Hydropower Collaborates with Aboriginal Communities
The Canadian hydropower industry works closely with aboriginal community partners in the planning, construction, and implementation of new hydropower projects.
This ensures local communities share the benefits of a project through employment, business opportunities, capacity building, and long-term revenues. Improved communication and relationships with aboriginal communities have created a two-way knowledge transfer that has enhanced environmental protection and aboriginal social well-being.
Recent Canadian hydropower development agreements represent some of the largest aboriginal energy partnerships in North American history.
|5 Reasons Americans Should Care About Canadian Hydropower|
North American Hydro by the Numbers
|175 000 Megawatts of installed capacity in Canada and the U.S.|
|250 000+ Megawatts of potential in Canada and the U.S.|
|50 000 000+ Equivalent households powered annually in Canada and the U.S.|
|350 000 000 Tonnes/year of avoided greenhouse gas emissions in Canada and the U.S.|