The Kipawa Hydro Potential
This large Ottawa River reservoir, built by the Canadian government at the beginning of the last century, is already more than sufficient to add a full-time 70 MW power plant but it would significantly impact the environment. Developed by the Kipawa Reservoir community, this project would be by far the most profitable in Quebec at this time, and would provide a return on investment within just a few years.
The 132 MW Tabaret project will eliminate the aquatic ecosystem of the Kipawa River to replace and unused 17 MW Unit and a 5 MW plant.
There are other, smarter and more reasonable options for producing hydro power on the Kipawa watershed: the HUG Hydro System. There are two approaches: one uses kinetic energy of moving water of the rapids and the second use the energy of gravity from small waterfalls.
Big Hydro’s Big Days are behind us
The $6.5-billion Romaine ” big hydro” development in Quebec, Canada will produce 1,550 MW: $4200/kW. British Columbia’s plan to build a new $8.8-billion hydro project on the Peace River for 1,100-megawatt: $8,000/kW. Manitoba may be in the worst shape of all: it has green-lighted the $6.5-billion, 700-megawatt Keeyask dam: $9286/kW (9 cents per kilowatt-hour).
There are additional indirect costs: damming interrupts the flow of rivers and can harm local ecosystems, and building large dams and reservoirs often involves displacing people and wildlife.
Cheap and abundant U.S. natural gas, with its lighter (than coal) carbon footprint, is eating Canadian hydro’s lunch. Export prices averaged 6.5 cents per kw/h in 2008. By 2012, that was down to 3.1 cents per kw/h – far below the production costs of any new hydro projects being built now.
Comparisons of life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions or global warming, which uses the global warming potential unit, the Carbon dioxide equivalent(CO2e)/kWh: 400 for natural gas and 700 to 1000 (without scrubbing) for coal.