“Water is our gold. It’s our greatest natural resource.”
Marc JacobDispatcher – Interconnections
Not only is water a renewable source of energy, it can also be stored for later use. That’s not the case for other renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. As Marc Jacob, Dispatcher – Interconnections at the System Control Centre says, “We can’t store large quantities of electricity, but we can store water.” All you need is some very large containers!
“We can’t store electricity, but we can store water.”
Hydro-Québec’s reservoirs are big enough to supply one or more generating stations all year round. That reliable supply of water can be drawn on whenever the need arises.
Thanks to reservoir generating stations like those at the La Grande complex in Baie-James, Hydro-Québec is able to instantly adjust its power output according to demand, without any increase in generating costs. By comparison, a coal-fired plant like the ones found across the United States can take more than 10 hours to start up, while producing 70 times more greenhouse gas!
That flexibility, along with the other environmental advantages of hydropower, a clean source of energy, has given Hydro-Québec an enviable position in the continent’s northeast energy market, which includes New England, New York, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.
Thanks to 735-kV transmission lines, which turned 50 in 2015, electricity can travel at extra-high voltage levels. As a result, fewer lines are needed to bring electricity to load centres.
Québec comes first! While sales outside Québec are an attractive source of income for Hydro-Québec, its priority has always been to supply power to its Québec customers. Only surplus electricity is exported.
Where do we export our electricity? Our main markets outside Québec are in New England, New York, Ontario and the Atlantic provinces.
Selling and delivering energy Our transmission system, North America’s largest, comprises 34,272 km of lines and 15 interconnections allowing power interchanges with neighboring grids.
Helping our neighbors go green with hydroelectricity By purchasing our hydropower instead of generating their own energy from coal, natural gas or fuel oil, our American neighbors cut their CO2 emissions by 7.4 million tonnes in 2015.
Old generating stations to be replaced New England states seeking to reduce GHG emissions are very interested in our hydropower.
From Radisson to Boston, for 25 years! Inaugurated in the early 1990s, the Radisson–Nicolet–Des Cantons 450-kV line connects the La Grande complex with Sandy Pond substation, near Boston.
Business opportunities on outside markets allow Hydro-Québec to make a large portion of its income from electricity exports.