A constant and reliable energy source

An energy source that can be adjusted to meet changing demand

Because hydropower is a constant, permanently available energy source, it guarantees reliable supply. Thanks to its storage capacities, a reservoir generating station can provide an instant response to changes in demand. At peak periods, hydropower generation can be adjusted almost in real time. In comparison, it can take 12 hours or so to start up a coal-fired power plant.

Reliable power means energy security

Québec electricity also owes its reliability to the quality of its generating, transmission and distribution facilities. To carry out its infrastructure projects, which often present considerable technical and logistical complexity, Hydro-Québec applies the latest methods and technologies along with great innovative ability.

In fact, the engineering and construction quality of Hydro-Québec’s generating fleet has provided a model for the industry for 50 years.

Reliability: Investments in facilities, stringent standards

A large dam showing temporary scaffolding being used by workers to carry out maintenance work.
A hydroelectric generating station that is properly maintained and refurbished can have a service life of more than 100 years. By way of comparison, thermal and wind facilities last between 25 and 30 years.
Investments in the refurbishment and refitting of generating stations

The company makes substantial investments to maintain and upgrade its facilities. In 2013, $416 million was invested in generating station refurbishment and refitting.

Reliability benchmark

Recognized worldwide for the reliability of its transmission system, Hydro-Québec takes every possible measure to remain a benchmark in this regard. In 2013, investments in transmission rose to a record $1.9 billion, including $917 million devoted to maintaining and improving the grid, and replacing some of its assets.

Stringent standards

Hydro-Québec operates its system by meeting the most stringent reliability standards, in accordance with the criteria of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC).

Innovations to improve reliability

Sustained innovation efforts help ensure that the Québec power grid is continually improved.

The Scompi robot for working on turbines

Generation

The Scompi robot can perform such tasks as on-site welding, grinding, gouging and hammering on hydroelectric generating station turbines and gates, as well as other industrial equipment. It can do high-precision work and can operate in hard-to-reach areas. Scompi technology offers many advantages: increased availability of generating units, enhanced turbine performance, productivity gains of 150% to 200% compared with manual welding, and improved worker health and safety.

The LineScout robot for inspecting transmission lines

Transmission

To increase system reliability and security, Hydro-Québec’s research institute (IREQ) developed LineScout, a robotic device able to inspect high-voltage transmission lines over long distances. This robot was tested with the BCTC (British Columbia Transmission Corporation, now a part of BC Hydro) in the Vancouver region. The LineScout technology earned Hydro-Québec and the BCTC the 2010 Edison Award. This international award, which recognizes outstanding leadership, innovation and exceptional contributions to the advancement of the power industry, is the electric utility industry’s highest honor.

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