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Nearly all the electrical energy used in Manitoba begins as the kinetic energy (energy of motion) of flowing rivers, primarily in the north.

In a hydroelectric generating station, flowing water spins a turbine connected to a generator, where a moving magnetic field creates an electric current in surrounding coils. The amount of electricity that can be generated varies with the energy available to spin the turbine. The amount of energy available depends on the height of the waterfall and the volume of water passing over the fall.

Once in the form of electricity, the energy can then be distributed to homes and businesses across the province through a system of transmission and distribution lines.

A Green Energy Source

The implications of climate change on Manitoba's hydroelectric generation sector is uncertain. There is some speculation that increased summer temperatures together with reduced precipitation and higher evaporation, might reduce the amount of water available for Manitoba's hydroelectric production.

Most of the energy used for heating, cooling and transportation in Manitoba is derived from imported, carbon-intensive fossil fuels such as refined petroleum products and natural gas. Substituting these fuels with green alternatives such as hydro electricity would significantly reduce our province's GHG emissions.

Climate change mitigation policies could represent a major opportunity for Manitoba Hydro to profitably expand its hydroelectricity generation. There may be increased demand for hydroelectricity in neighbouring provinces and territories and south of the border.

The possible convergence of fossil fuel and renewable energy costs, or the expansion of consumer demand for 'green energy', may place Manitoba in a good position to increase production of electricity from wind, solar and biomass.

Quick Facts:

More than 98% of electricity generated in Manitoba comes from clean and renewable sources such as hydroelectricity and wind.

Manitoba currently produces a surplus of hydro-sourced energy, and exports about half of the electricity it generates.

The production & distribution of hydroelectricity doesn't produce significant levels of GHG emissions.