Two hydro-rich provinces are being forced to import power from other jurisdictions due to severe drought in Western Canada. Both B.C. and Manitoba, where the vast majority of power is hydroelectric, are experiencing low reservoir levels that have negatively affected electricity production this fall and winter.
There’s no risk in either province of the lights going out anytime soon. But scientists say climate change is making drought both more common and more severe, which means more pressure on hydroelectric producers in the years to come.
In B.C., large chunks of the province are suffering through drought conditions the federal government has classified as “extreme.” BC Hydro spokesman Kyle Donaldson used the word “historic” to describe the dry conditions, adding the Crown corporation’s large reservoirs in both the north and southeast parts of the province are lower than they have been in many years.
While BC Hydro has been working to conserve water by drawing on reservoirs in less affected regions of the province, it has also been importing more power from Alberta and a number of western U.S. states.