Hydroelectric generation refers to the use of waterpower to generate electricity. Hydroelectric generators capture the energy of water, using this energy to drive a water turbine to rotate an electrical generator and produce electricity. There are no emissions related to the operation of a hydroelectric generator, and they are considered renewable technology.
In fact, hydroelectric generation is one of the most common types of renewable generation in Ontario, representing about 22% of the province’s total installed capacity as of 2013. Furthermore, hydroelectric generation makes up about 70% of Ontario’s total installed renewable capacity. Hydroelectric generating stations are able to provide a steady power output, except in times of reduced water flow and during drought events.
There are several types of hydroelectric generation types, with the most typical being the conventional hydroelectric dam where water is stored in a reservoir. There are also pumped-storage and run-of-the-river types of hydroelectric power.
Hydroelectric power plants can come in a variety of sizes. A hydroelectric generating facility is typically considered large if it has a capacity is over 10 MW, however, this is only a general rule of thumb. The Sir Adam Beck Hydroelectric generating stations in Niagara Falls for example have a combined capacity of just under2000 MW. Small and even micro hydroelectric generating stations are also available.
Although electricity generated from a hydroelectric facility is considered renewable, the construction and implementation of dams can have significant environmental impact to the surrounding area due to the disruption of waterway flow. Smaller facilities create less of an impact than larger facilities and environmental mitigation measures can be employed to help reduce these impacts.
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Cambium Indigenous Professional Services
1109 Mississauga Street, Curve Lake First Nation, Ontario K0L 1R0