Why Ontario should look west, not east, for hydro power – by Wil Tishinski (Globe and Mail – August 20, 2015)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Will Tishinski is former vice-president of power supply planning (retired) for Manitoba Hydro.

It was recently reported that Ontario is looking to buy power from Newfoundland and Labrador. This is the wrong direction. Ontario should be looking westward to Manitoba, which is more accessible.

Manitoba currently receives 75 per cent of its electricity requirements from the Nelson River, which has an ultimate capacity of 6,000 megawatts. Only half of that potential is developed today. To meet its own needs, Manitoba will build the generating sites incrementally, with the last plant being constructed perhaps 50 years down the road.

It makes more sense to develop the unharnessed 3,000 MW now and to share at least half that with Ontario. The entire block of power could be transmitted by direct-current transmission to a converter station near Dryden, Ont.

At this location, the power could be converted to conventional alternating current, with 500,000-volt transmission lines connecting eastward to Timmins, Ont., and westward to Winnipeg.

Ontario is determined to proceed with the development of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. But each of these sources is available just 35 per cent of the time. Because of this limitation, backup generation is required.

This backup can take the form of additional generation or energy storage, such as batteries. But gas-fired generation creates greenhouse gases, and batteries are still in the developmental stage, so neither option is satisfactory.

For the rest of this column, click here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-commentary/why-ontario-should-look-west-not-east-for-hydro-power/article26024942/