Water works: backstopping your supply with hydropower

Arial photo of a hydroelectric generating station.

What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object? It creates stable, reliable electricity.

When Manitoba rivers meet hydroelectric generating stations, their constant flow creates a source of electricity we can tap, depend on and use as necessary. Huge volumes of water flowing in our abundant rivers make our power supply among the most dependable in the world.

That means our energy is dispatchable – we can adjust to demand circumstances more quickly than any other energy source, allowing our system to quickly meet fluctuating demand throughout MISO.

The original renewable

Photo of turbulent waters in a spillway

The benefits of renewable energy are exciting and well-documented. But some people don’t realize hydropower is actually just as renewable – and more reliable as a baseload renewable – than more intermittent sources like solar or wind. Hydropower’s minimal carbon footprint and ability to support green energy development make it an attractive source of power for utilities lucky enough to be able to access it.

With a tiny fraction of the greenhouse gas emissions of a coal or gas plant and a stable, consistent energy source you can depend on, hydropower can be the bedrock of modern energy mixes. When snow covers solar panels or the wind isn’t blowing, hydropower can provide a source of energy that ensures an uninterrupted flow of electricity.

Room to grow

Manitoba Hydro has nearly 5,700 MW of generation capacity today and another 695 megawatts under development. This capacity means Manitoba’s renewable hydropower also provides the stability to support development of other, more intermittent renewables – and as long as water keeps flowing, hydropower will too.