Hydro Generation – where is it coming from?


With all of the negative publicity the Green Energy Act is receiving in Ontario, as well as the news surrounding the cancellation of natural gas plant construction – where is Ontario going to get their hydro from? Sometimes it is useful to take a look at the trends in the rest of the world. Here’s a link to an article in the Economist  . It shows that in the rest of the world nuclear generated hydro is in decline.

When you look at the age chart, you will see that at around an average age of 30 years (compared to the global average of 28), this is not likely to be different in Canada, particularly since we have relatively abundant sources of natural gas. Further, when you look at how much hydro is generated by nuclear plants (~15%),  replacement of nuclear capacity is not nearly as monumental as it might be in most parts of Western Europe.

But what of the carbon impact? True, should we substitute NG for nuclear generated hydro, there will be a net carbon increase. It is interesting to note that any incremental hydro generated with NG will result in a decrease in the carbon content per megawatt. More on that in later blog posts.

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