Like Québec and British Columbia, the province of Manitoba generates almost all of its electricity (98%) from hydropower. Manitoba Hydro, a provincial Crown Corporation, operates 15 hydroelectric stations on 5 major river systems and two thermal plants which run mainly on natural gas, one of which includes a coal unit as a backup source.It also operates four small remote diesel systems totalling 10 MW and purchases power from two independently owned wind farms. In total, Manitoba’s generating capacity stands just under 6,000 MW [i].
Like other hydropower jurisdictions, Manitoba’s electricity rates and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity production are among the lowest in Canada [ii][iii]. In Manitoba’s Clean Energy Strategy (2012), the government indicates that it will continue to develop its hydro resources as well as other renewable energy resources in its pursuit of “freedom from fossil fuels.” Thus far, the government has focused the development of other renewable resources on alternative heat sources to replacing natural gas and coal, which are expensive to import and account for around 15% of the province’s GHGs emissions [iv]. In particular, geothermal heat pumps, solar thermal and renewable biofuels have been identified as desirable alternatives.
[i] Manitoba Hydro, 2015. Generating stations. Retrieved 8 Aug 2015 from https://www.hydro.mb.ca/corporate/facilities/generating_stations.shtml
[ii] Hydro One. 2015. Electricity rates by province. Retrieved 9 Aug 2015 from http://www.ontario-hydro.com/index.php?page=electricity_rates_by_province
[iii] Environment Canada. 2015. National Inventory Report 1990-2013: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada. Retrieved 9 Aug 2015 from http://www.ec.gc.ca/ges-ghg/default.asp?lang=En&n=83A34A7A-1.
[iv] Government of Manitoba. 2012. Focused on What Matters Most: Manitoba’s Clean Energy Strategy. Retrieved 10 Aug 2015 from http://www.gov.mb.ca/ia/energy/pdfs/energy_strategy_2012.pdf