One of the purposes of retaining structures is to store water. Why build reservoirs to store water? Given that electricity consists of countless electrons in motion, it cannot be stored directly. However, storing water for future use allows utilities to meet the demand for electric power... demand that varies considerably according to the time of day and the season. We store wood in a dry place for the same reason: so we can burn logs when we need them.
The ability to turn the tap on and off
In Québec, the demand for electricity is very high on cold winter days and drops significantly during the summer. To ensure a year-round supply of water for its generating units, Hydro-Québec must effectively manage its water resources, which includes analyzing the impact of precipitation and forecasting future requirements.
Hydro-Québec owns 25 large reservoirs. Together, these huge man–made lakes have a maximum storage capacity of 170 billion kWh–the equivalent of Québec's electricity needs for an entire year.
About 214 million years ago, a large asteroid fell to earth and created a huge ring-like formation now occupied by the Manicouagan reservoir. The origin of this unusual shape–a meteorite six kilometres in diameter–was determined only after the reservoir had been filled. The depression resembles craters found on the moon, and rock samples from the site are similar to those brought back by astronauts.
|RESERVOIR||HYDROELECTRIC COMPLEX||VOLUME TO GENERATE ELECTRICITY||TOTAL VOLUME||RESERVOIR SURFACE AREA|
|LA GRANDE 3||LA GRANDE||25.2||60.0||2,536|
|AUX OUTARDES 4||MANIC-OUTARDES||10.7||24.3||625|
Move the cursor over each point to find out the storage volume of the reservoir.
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