Large Hydropower

Large hydropower provides most of the world's renewable energy and almost 90% of British Columbia's electricity. The building of hydroelectric dams is not, however, without environmental drawbacks.

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Large Hydropower

By the Numbers


Total share of of world electricity production, greater than all other renewables combined


Canada's rank in global large hydropower generation


Large hydropower generating stations in Canada


Of B.C.'s electricity generated by large hydropower

7 cents/kWh

Average price of electricity in Vancouver in 2009, one of the lowest in North America

18-30 x


Greater carbon emissions come from generating electricity from natural gas

Last Updated: May 2016

Charlotte Helston and Andrew Farris

Large hydropower projects rely on dams to create artificial lakes that can provide tremendous amounts of reliable, renewable power. Today large hydropower is the only renewable that generates a significant portion of the world’s electricity, about 16%. While hydroelectric potential has been tapped in many parts of the developed world, for the developed world it offers the opportunity shift to derive relatively cheap power from a renewable source. The dams are expensive but once built the fuel is free and the levelized cost of electricity from them is very cheap. It’s no coincidence that British Columbians, who gets almost 90% of their electricity from large hydropower, have some of the lowest electricity rates in North America. Of course, it is only viable for countries that feature the required river systems. Where it exists today, hydroelectricity represents a renewable energy that, once developed, produces no direct waste and emits very small amounts of greenhouse gases.

Yet like any energy source, it has its ugly side. The consequences of damming are far-reaching; conversion of surrounding valleys to lakes displaces communities of both humans and animals, and slowed flow-rates can cause severe losses in biodiversity and increases in sedimentation permanently changing the river ecosystem.

Canada has a century long history with hydropower, and is currently tied with Brazil for second place in hydroelectric power production. China is first. 60% of all Canada’s electricity comes from hydropower. After utilities went on a building spree of dams from the 1950s to the 1980s, construction stalled. A combination of rising building costs and a wave of protests due to unaddressed environmental concerns seem to have been the main drivers barring expansion. Though Canada is said to have untapped potential double its existing capacity, the environmentally conscious route would be to upgrade old facilities to minimize wilderness disturbance.

Plans to refurbish aging dams are moving ahead across the country. The controversial Site C Dam is the first major new hydroelectric project in British Columbia in decades, and it began construction in early 2016. BC Hydro ratepayers are paying for Site C and the refurbishment plans in increased electricity rates.

  1. International Energy Agency, "Key World Statistics 2015", 2015.
  2. Manitoba Hydro, 2015.
  3. Paradis, 2010.

How Large Hydropower Works

Diagram of a hydroelectric turbine.
  • Dams work by blocking large quantities of water and then releasing it through turbines that generate electricity.
  • Pumped storage hydro is a way to store energy by pumping water back into a reservoir for later use.

There are three different types of river-based hydroelectric power: conventional storage, pumped hydro and run-of-river. Most of the world relies on conventional, pumped hydro is much rarer and run-of-river is the subject of a separate section of EnergyBC.

Depiction of a conventional storage facility.

Conventional Storage Facilities

Hydroelectric power stations capitalize on the kinetic energy of falling water to produce electricity. Kinetic energy exists in any body of water that flows down a slope. The amount of energy that can be generated is directly related to the amount of height change that exists, or head differential. Though the planet has many naturally occurring hydro power hotspots—like rivers and waterfalls—most power plants manipulate the force of the water with dams. Man-made dams retain massive amounts of water in reservoirs, and form drastic drop-offs that enhance the kinetic energy of falling water. The reservoir water is used to store energy in the form of potential energy. When power is needed the gates of the dam are opened and the water funneled into a pipe known as the penstock and it gains pressure as it runs down the penstock’s gradient. The water strikes an electricity-generating turbine and forces the blades to turn.

The generator, attached to the turbine via a shaft, contains a series of magnets that spin and move past copper coils forcing the movement of electrons creating alternating current. Used water is funneled through pipes known as tailraces and directed back into the river downstream of the power station.

Hydropower is extremely efficient; most modern stations can convert over 95% of available energy into electricity. The majority of conventional fossil-fuel plants are less than 30% efficient, and even the most efficient, combined cycle gas cogeneration plants, only operate at about 60% efficiency.

Storage hydropower offers another huge advantage over many other energy producers as it can store energy in the form of water in the reservoir. When more energy is needed more water can be diverted into the turbines and more energy.

Pumped Hydro

Diagram of a pumped storage facility.
BBC News

Pumped hydro is an extension of the concept of using the water in the reservoir as stored energy. Operating much like a dam, it also has the ability to pump water from downstream back into the reservoir for use in future when power demand is greater. During times of high energy production and low demand surplus electricity is used to push water upstream to the reservoir or to high alpine lakes to prepare for future periods of high demand.

This type of power is most popular in some Nordic countries and the United States. In Canada there is only one pumped-storage facility, Sir Adam Beck Pump Generating Station at Niagara Falls in Ontario.


Run-of-River plants dispense with the dam and instead divert water straight from the river’s normal flow and down a penstock and to a turbine. Because run-of-river systems don’t need dams they don’t have many of the negative imapcts associated with large hydropower. On the other hand they are unable to store water for future use and can be shut down entirely when the river’s water levels are low. Run-of-river projects tend to be much smaller than their conventional cousins, though many of them have been built in British Columbia in recent years.

Run-of-river power is considered separately in the scope of EnergyBC and we encourage you to learn more about it at this page.

  1. The NEED Project, 2011.

Geography of Large Hydropower

  • Dams are built along rivers and require the flooding of substantial bodies of land upriver.

Hydroelectric development depends upon a combination of elevation, climate and running water. It is most common for hydroelectric power stations to be located on mountain rivers at points where the elevation begins to drop significantly. Large amounts of rainfall or glacial melt are needed to create enough river flow for power.

Hydroelectric development calls for an alteration of the surrounding landscape. When dams are built to create reservoirs, water floods once dry land and a man-made lake is formed. This new body of water offers recreational opportunities like boating and fishing, however, it also modifies the natural ecosystem, a side-effect that has sparked much debate. Not only does the construction of a dam affect the encircling area, it also affects the river as a habitat for marine creatures.

Photo of a dam in Montana showing the large reservoir that must be created in order to store water.
PPL Energy Corp

  1. Salvador, 2005, pp. 109-111.

Economics of Large Hydropower

  • Building hydroelectric dams can be very expensive, but they can provide enormous amounts of cheap power over the long term.

Since its origins in the late 19th Century, hydropower has not only powered homes and industries, but the national economy as well. Throughout Canada's history the development of hydropower facilities in remote areas drew people, commerce and other industries, reinforcing itself as a main factor in the creation of towns and cities.

BC Hydro, which gets the great majority of its power from hydropower, is one of Canada's top 100 employers, providing direct jobs for around 5, 200 employees. Indirect employment also stems from the hydroelectric industry. Statistics Canada provides employment statistics for the utilities industry (148,300 in 2010) but has no data specifically for the hydroelectric industry. Hydropower likely provides more jobs than any other renewable energy industry in Canada. Nevertheless on a megawatt-by-megawatt basis large hydropower provides far fewer jobs than other renewables. A study by the Canadian Geothermal Association estimated that while the Site C Dam will provide 150 permanent jobs, using geothermal to provide the same amount of power would create 2,500 permanent jobs and cost less.

Development costs range depending on the condition of the site, as well as the type of facility being constructed. The main investments center on the engineering, equipment and the turbine. The power house, dam, water intake, gates, as well as acquisition of land, planning, and authorization, all contribute to the initial investment. Typically, the costs relating to structural works (ie. the dam) are 40 to 50% of the overall expenses. Mechanical components such as the turbines are about 20-25% for larger plants and approximately 30% for smaller stations. A further 5-10% of the up-front cost is consumed by connecting the dam to the grid, though this can vary enormously on the need for major transmission lines. New costs for ecological compensation, like adding fish ladders, can lead to significant increases in costs. As with other renewable energy sources, the up-front costs dominate, while the operation stage provides the savings as the fuel is free. The annual operation costs are roughly 1-4% of the overall investment.

This means that once built dams which function for 50 or more years produce very cheap electricity. British Columbians, who get almost all their electricity from hydropower, enjoy some of the lowest electricity rates in North America. The three provinces (British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec) that rely most heavily on hydroelectricity have the lowest electricity rates. Provinces that rely highly on fossil fuels tend to have higher electricity rates and prices are much more volatile because of the changing market prices of the fuel needed to run the generators.

As of 2016 B.C. Hydro charges residential consumers based on a two tiered system. If daily averages remain less than 22.1918 kWh consumers pay $0.0829 per kWh. Anything above that falls into the next tier of $0.1243 per kWh. This is a 30% increase since 2012. The average 1000 kWh bill in Vancouver is $102.90.

The rate increases are both to refurbish many old dams and to build the Site C dam. Most dams in the province are 50 years old and about a dozen are in need of major upgrades, including the 80-year-old Ruskin Dam which will require an $800 million investment.

  1. BC Hydro, "Generation System", 2012.
  2. Statistics Canada, 2010.
  3. Gilchrist, 2014.
  4. Kaltshmitt, 2007.
  5. Manitoba Hydro, 2015.
  6. B.C. Hydro, "Residential Rates."
  7. CBC News, 2011.

Environmental Issues with Large Hydropower

  • The construction of hydroelectric dams often has major environmental impacts, especially related to the floodign of land and interruption of river ecosystems.
  • Generating power from hydroelectric dams does not create carbon emissions.

Large hydropower projects have a number of environmental advantages over fossil fuel power. They are renewable, don’t emit carbon, and provide enormous quantities of power whenever it is needed for the grid. On the other hand dams can drastically alter river ecosystems while requiring enormous amounts of land for reservoirs.

Local Impacts

After a severe drought in Venezuela, the reservoir created by a dam was depleted enough to reveal this church, which had been flooded when the dam was created.

The land requirements are often the main issue for opponents of hydropower like the Site C Dam. The requirements for the reservoir vary enormously from site to site, depending on the river topography and how much large a reservoir is thought necessary. As a very general rule a single reservoir providing water for a 1,300 MW hydroelectric power plant needs roughly 650 km2, or 50km2 per 100 MW installed. In other words, a man-made lake the size of about 4,629 soccer can generate enough power for 130,000 homes.

The conversion of land into artificial lakes has consequences for bird populations and other animals. Because of the low power density of hydroelectricity, it takes a lot of land to produce a relatively low amount of power. This directly affects animals including humans. In some countries, it floods former agricultural land, putting stress on the livelihoods of local communities. Recently, more than one million people were relocated in China in order to build the reservoir for the Three Gorges Dam which also included the relocation of two major cities. The flooding of this valley also resulted in a large loss in farming land that was once adjacent to the Yangtze River, putting many out of work. One study estimated anywhere between 40 and 80 million people had been displaced by dams over the past century.

The other main environmental impact of conventional hydropower is their impact on river ecosystems that stems from their diversion of water from its natural path. The impoundment area has a much decreased flow velocity which promotes increased sedimentation. Fish habitats become covered in the fine matter (sand, clay and silt) and are rendered useless for spawning.

A startling visual depiction of the flooding a dam can cause. This dam, the Merowe Dam along the Nile, is located in the north of Sudan.

Damming also slows the flow-rate of all river water, not just within the reservoir. Fish species, such as salmon, rely upon strongly flowing rivers to help send them down river. Migrating fish can get trapped and disoriented in slow-moving pools. Damming prompts problems for fish swimming upstream as well. Most notable are the adult salmon that attempt to swim upstream to reproduce, but cannot get past the dams. Some hydroelectric dams now have fish ladders or side channels to facilitate the salmon's journey yet many fish still die midstream, or get caught in turbine blades. Migrations of other animals and dispersion of plant seeds are hampered as well.

Additionally, man-made reservoirs, and the water released from them can also cause problems downstream. Often, lake bottom water is inhospitable to fish for two reasons: temperatures are much cooler than they are near the surface, and deep water is oxygen depleted compared with shallower water. When this cold, oxygen-poor water is released in massive quantities to create electricity, it can shock fish living downstream in warm, oxygen-rich pools. Surging waters also cause downstream flooding which can carry fish out of the river.

Sedimentation is a long-term problem associated with the damming of a river system. Because the flow rate of the river has been decreased to almost zero, sediment will settle in the reservoir behind the dam. This can lead to storage loss, operational impairment, environmental degradation and recreational impairment. Although there are remedies to sedimentation, most are expensive and tedious.

The effects of hydroelectric development are worst when power station chains—series of stations erected along an extended portion of a river—are created.43 Chains put an extreme amount of stress on river ecosystems. The connectivity of running waters is blocked, and river characteristics are degraded. Species loss leads to an overall loss in biodiversity as predators lose their prey and biodiversity wanes.

Water pollution at the time of construction can occur when construction materials interact with river system. These effects can pose grave consequences, but can be mitigated with appropriate procedures and precautions.

The Three Gorges Dam, the largest dam in the world, generating 22,500 MW of power, completed along China's Yangtze River in 2006. The flooding caused by the dam displaced over a million people, destroyed a number of archaeological and cultural sites, and has caused extensive damage to the river's ecosystem.
PPL Energy Corp

Climate Change

Because hydroelectric dams do not burn fossil fuels, they avoid the emissions associated with coal, or gas plants. Their operation releases no pollutants that cause acid rain and smog. Almost all carbon emissions come during construction and operation. If Canada was to switch its hydropower to coal it would require burning 120 million tons of coal each year. Canadian government studies show that hydropower produces dramatically less carbon over its lifetime than fossil fuel power generation, 60 times less than coal-fired power plants and 18-30 times less than natural gas power plants.

Outside of construction, emissions are most noticeable when plants decompose in the flooding caused by a dam, or impoundment zone, and produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is much more powerful than CO2. The amount of methane produced depends on the type of organic matter and location of the reservoir. Methane production is highest after the initial flood from the decomposing vegetation and soil organic matter and decreases with time. In temperate climates where the flood water is cold, methane production stabilizes quickly. In a tropical climate where the flood water is warm, methane production takes longer to stabilize resulting in more methane production and adding greatly to the dam’s carbon footprint. The methane production is not something that can be completely eliminated but if dam location is carefully considered it can be mitigated.

The decaying vegetation also contains bacteria that can change the naturally occurring mercury present in rocks, into a form that is soluble in water. Once released in this form, mercury begins to accumulate in the bodies of fish — a health hazard to any creature who consumes them. The Canadian Hydropower Association notes that an estimated 2/3 of mercury found in the environment has its origins in smelters, incinerators, and coal and oil-fired plants. The leftover 1/3 is believed to be naturally occurring, but also potentially the result of hydro developments. The CHA argues that the levels are so low that replacing coal and gas-fired plants with hydropower stations can, in the long run, decrease mercury levels in the environment.

The Risk of Dam Failure

The massive amounts of water held back by conventional hydro facilities contain potential energy, as well as potential risks. Failures arising from poor construction, or the age of the facilities, can unleash powerful floods that devastate villages, farmland, and wildlife habitats. The Banqiao Dam failure in China in 1975 killed 26,000 people in the ensuing flood. A further 145,000 people died from epidemics catalyzed by contaminated water. The typhoon that passed over the region was twice as large as the facility had been built to withstand.

Large dams may influence geologic stability and induce seismic activity, though this is only speculative at this point. The earthquake at the Koyna dam in India in 1967, which killed approximately 180 people, is believed by some to have been caused by the Koyna reservoir. Even with careful planning accidents can still occur. Unpredictable natural disasters such as earthquakes, extreme snowmelt, and landslides can cause structures to rupture. Numerous dams were affected by the 2011 earthquake in Japan, for instance.

Dams can also be targeted during wars or by terrorists. The most famous instance of a dam becoming a military target was the famous Dambusters Raid, in which the Royal Air Force bombed three key dams in Germany that provided electrical power, drinking water and water for the canal transport system.

Most recently the gigantic Mosul dam in northern Iraq may be the catastrophic victim of neglect resulting from war. The dam was captured by ISIS in 2014 who chased off the dam’s caretakers. Evidently the dam was so poorly built that the only thing that has kept it from crumbling was constant injections of concrete into the base. Now that those have halted the U.S. and Iraqi government are warning that the dam may soon collapse, flooding Mosul and potentially killing a million Iraqis. As the Guardian reported,

The statement conjured up images of a giant tsunami-like disaster that could kill 1 million people, ruin two-thirds of Iraq’s prime agricultural croplands, destroy electricity and clean water supplies, leave cities uninhabitable for months, and turn much of the country’s population into refugees.

The Mohne Dam the day after it was burst by the famous Dambusters bombing raid by RAF Squadron No. 617 in 1943.
  1. Jacobson, 2009.
  2. International Rivers, 2008.
  3. Kaltshmitt, 2007.
  4. Salvador, 2005,
  5. Environment Canada, 2010.
  6. Kaltshmitt, 2007.
  7. Bakis, 2007, pp.259-266.
  8. Government of Canada, "Canadian Government Fact Sheet: Invest in Canada."
  9. International Energy Agency, 2002.
  10. Canadian Hydropower Association, 2008.
  11. Encyclopedia Britannica, "Typhoon Nina- Banqiao dam failure."
  12. International Energy Agency, 2002.
  13. Tisdall, 2016.

Politics of Large Hydropower

  • Large hydropower's proven track record have opened many utilities up to accusations they are biased in favour of it over other renewable alternatives.

The hydropower industry dovetails nicely with the government's aim to supply the economy with relatively cheap energy while meeting clean energy It comes without the some of the challenges of less developed technologies like solar, geothermal or wind, and it's been working in Canada for over a century.

Rather than investing to help bring alternatives like solar into the mainstream, the government has been boosting tried-and-true hydropower. This is best illustrated by the Site C Dam currently under construction in northwestern British Columbia. That project has been championed by the provincial government despite a report released by Canadian Geothermal Energy Association that showed electricity from geothermal power would be $76 per MWh, as opposed to Site C’s $87-95 per MWh. In response energy minister Bill Bennett said that geothermal “will be important in B.C. in the future. It is not a replacement – it’s not a way to get the 1,100 megawatts of electricity that we need today.” Tellingly, the Joint Review Panel examining the viability of Site C directly contradicted the minister’s claim that the power was needed today.

  1. BC Hydro, "Site C Clean Energy Project."
  2. Stueck, 2014.

Large Hydropower Around the World

  • Large hydropower generates the majority of the world's renewable energy.
The Gordon Dam in Tasmania, Australia.

Hydropower contributed 2.3% of total global primary energy production in 2014, putting it ahead of all the other renewables save biofuels. In terms of electricity production hydropower plays a bigger role but despite constant development, hydropower’s contribution to world electricity production has actually decreased in recent decades. The 1920s saw the height of hydropower’s share of world electricity production at 40%. Since then, it has decreased to 30% in the mid 1950's, 20% in the mid 80s, down to 16% in 2014. There are 950 GW of hydroelectric power installed around the world.

China now sits as the world’s hydroelectric leader, generating 920 TWh in 2014. Much of this power comes from the titanic Three Gorges Dam, the largest power station in the world and only opened in 2012. The dam has a capacity of 22,500 MW. Canada is basically tied with Brazil at a distant second, both generating about 390 TWh of electricity from hydropower in 2014. Norway is the leader in terms of hydropower penetration, and derives fully 96% of its electricity from falling waters.

The World Energy Council estimates only a third of the world’s hydroelectric potential has been developed, most of it in the developed world. This means that most developing countries have huge untapped hydropower potential, and over the last decade many are taking advantage of it. In 2012 alone 30 GW of new capacity came online, mostly in South America, Asia and Africa. Approximately 1.2 billion people still don’t have access to electricity, and for their governments’ hydroelectric dams offer one of the best ways to efficiently produce enormous quantities of power at a good price.

  1. IEA, "Key World Statistics 2015," 2015.
  2. Union of Concerned Scientists, 2011.
  3. IEA, “Energy Access Database,” 2015.
  4. World Energy Council, “Hydropower.”

Large Hydropower in Canada

  • Canada is one of the world's leaders in hydropower and the provinces of Quebec, B.C., Manitoba and Ontario rely heavily upon it.
The 2,592 MW Daniel-Johnson Dam in Central Quebec. This dam was completed in 1968 and is essential to Quebec's electricity supply.

Canada is the world's second largest producer of hydroelectricity and gets fully 63% of its power from hydroelectricity. That’s more than 76,000 MW distributed across almost 500 facilities nationwide. A single power plant, like the Robert-Bourassa station in northern Quebec, can meet the needs of 1.4 million people. There is room to expand it much further: the Canadian Hydropower Association believes Canada has the potential for a further 160,000 MW of capacity. This is all the result of Canada’s unparalleled geography for hydropower, with many provinces boasting abundant supplies of rushing water, mountainous regions, and steady rainfall.

Unlike all other renewable energies, hydropower has already been powering Canada for over a century. The first hydroelectric plant was at Chaudieres Falls in 1881. The water wheel, built by the Ottawa Electric Light Company, powered street lights and local mills. Large scale development began in earnest in the early 1900s, with sites constructed across Ontario and Quebec. After the Second World War many of the small hydroelectric dams from before were eschewed for mega-projects like the Robert-Bourassa station or the W.A.C. Bennett Dam, securing power for millions of Canadians.

The pace of development slowed in the 1990s and few new large hydroelectric projects have been built in the last few decades. Environmental and social concerns have hampered the approval of conventional storage facility plans. As conventional hydropower has lost popularity, run-of-river systems, which avoid many of the unfavourable aspects of large hydro, have moved into the spotlight instead.

Canada's long history with hydropower has fostered experience and skill in both facility design and construction. Some of the world's largest and most efficient hydropower facilities involved Canadian architects, engineers and builders. Canadian development of hydropower facilities has occurred in Colombia, Ghana, Malaysia, India and the Philippines, among others.

Canada also exports a tremendous amount of electricity to the United States via the two countries closely integrated electrical grids. In 2009, Canada's energy exports to the U.S were valued at $76.27 billion, with nearly 2/3 of it coming from hydropower. In 2010, British Columbia alone exported 5.5 million MWh of electricity to exports the U.S. Proposals for submarine power cables carrying electricity from Canada to the U.S. were announced in early 2011. The plans, advanced by several different companies, would establish submarine power cables between British Columbia and California, Montreal and New York City, and potentially from Newfoundland and Manitoba to northeastern and Midwestern American markets. Vancouver Island is served by three sets of submarine cables, and the technology is used in transmitting power from offshore wind farms as well. The environmental concerns of laying power cables along the ocean floor include the freighting of massive amounts of material (usually from Japan), and the disturbance of marine life during construction.

Quebec accounts for the biggest share of hydroelectric production in Canada. The eastern province draws 94% of its power from hydroelectric facilities. With a capacity of 34,490 MW in 2010, hydropower supports over four million customers there. British Columbia is the country's second largest producer, with an installed generating capacity of over 11,000 MW.

Alberta is notable as a province that has underutilized its hydroelectric resources. The Canadian Hydropower Association estimates that province has 11,800 MW of hydropower potential, yet only 900 MW installed capacity.

A map showing Canada's hydroelectric infrastructure.
Canadian Geographic
  1. Canadian Hydropower Association, 2008.
  2. Government of Canada, 2011.
  3. Valentine, 2011.
  4. Hydro-Quebec, 2010.
  5. BC Hydro, "Our facilities", 2011.
  6. Canadian Hydropower Association, 2008.

Large Hydropower in British Columbia

  • British Columbia gets the vast majority of its power from large hyropower projects spread across the province that were mostly built from the 1950s to the 1970s.

The geography and climate of British Columbia have ensured the province would develop into a hydroelectric powerhouse. B.C. Hydro, a provincially owned crown corporation, was established to develop large-scale hydro power facilities and to distribute electricity province-wide. BC Hydro operates 30 power plants, and produces more than 43,000 GWh of electricity annually, providing energy for over 1.7 million residential, commercial and industrial customers. Even down to today, almost all of their operational facilities are hydroelectric dams, though they buy electricity from independent power producers.

Large Hydropower Projects in British Columbia (2016)

Most of the province’s power comes from a series of dams on the Peace and Columbia river systems in the Rocky Mountains. The Columbia system boasts two giant dams, the 2,480 MW Revelstoke Dam built in 1984 and the 1,805 MW Mica Dam completed in 1973. The Peace’s major dam is the 2,730 W.A.C. Bennett Dam that dates back to 1968, and the proposed 1,100 MW Site C Dam will be built there too. In addition to some smaller dams in those regions there is a scattering of conventional hydropower projects around the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island.

After the building boom of the 60s and 70s no new major hydroelectric dams have come online in the province. To continue to meet power demand B.C. Hydro and FortisBC (the second major utility in the province) have opted to spend billions upgrading and refitting the aging dams so as to wring another half century of power out of them. These projects include a $1.1 billion expansion of the John Hart dam outside Campbell River, to be completed in 2018. $900 million to expand the Waneta Dam south of Trail (completed 2015). Adding two new units to the Mica Dam and improve its capacity by 1,000 MW (completed 2015). Another $750 million has been spent on upgrading the 1930s era Ruskin Dam near Mission (complete in 2017). A sixth turbine will be added to the Revelstoke Dam for $420 million, schedule to be completed by 2020. Finally the hugely controversial $8.3 billion (as of writing) Site C Dam began construction in early 2016.

The 1,740 MW Mica Dam near Revelstoke, B.C.
  1. BC Hydro, "Generation System", 2012.
  2. Armelder, 2015.


To ensure continuity of material, all of the external web pages referenced here were cached over the course of research.

Readers are recommended to search the current links for any changes.

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When no treaty was signed between the government, and no war was fought over the land, first nations groups in Canada are entitled to the land on which they have historically lived and still inhabit.
In solar thermal energy collectors, the Absorber Area refers to the area absorbing the radiation
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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC): A 21-nation group of Pacific-Rim nations that seeks to promote free trade, raise living standards, education levels and sustainable economic policies. Canada is a member.
The artificially increased discharge of water during the operation of hydroelectric turbines during periods of peak demand.
Small particles released into the atmosphere as part of the flue gases from a coal plant. Fly ash is dangerous for human health but most power plants use electrostatic precipitators to capture it before release.
The waters off the Atlantic provinces that has been producing oil and gas since the 1990s, and continues to have considerable untapped oil and gas potential. The region has similar geology to the oil-rich North Sea.
'The ionizing radiation which we are all inescapably exposed to every day. It comes from radon gas in the ground, the sun, distant supernovas, and even elements inside our own bodies. The average exposure is around 361 mrem per year for a person in Washington state (it varies by region).
Base-load power is that provided continuously, virtually year-round to satisfy a regions minimum electricity needs. Hydro and nuclear power are well-suited for base-load grid needs.
A renewable fuel in which soy or canola oil is refined through a special process and blended with standard diesel oil. Biodiesel does not contain ethanol, but research is underway to develop diesel blends with ethanol.
Renewable energy made available from materials derived from biological sources.
Natural gas, or methane, that is created by microbes consuming organic matter. Usually found near the Earths surface and is usually immediately released into the atmosphere.
Biological material from living, or recently living organisms such as trees, grasses, and agricultural crops. As an energy source, biomass can either be used directly, or converted into other energy products such as biofuel.
A facility that integrates biomass conversion processes and equipment to produce fuels, power, and chemicals from biomass. The biorefinery concept is analogous to petroleum refineries, which produce multiple fuels and products from petroleum.
Bitumen is "petroleum that exists in the semi-solid or solid phase in natural deposits. Bitumen is a thick, sticky form of crude oil, so heavy and viscous (thick) that it will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. At room temperature, it is much like cold molasses."
Bottom Ash: Bottom ash are small particles that result from coal combustion, but unlike fly ash they are too heavy to be released into the atmosphere and must be stored.
Canadian Environmental Protection Act: Passed in 1999, CEPA is "An Act respecting pollution prevention and the protection of the environment and human health in order to contribute to sustainable development."
Cap and Trade: A system where the government sets a limit on how much of a pollutant may be emitted. It then sells the rights to emit that pollutant to companies, known as carbon credits, and allows them to trade the credits with other companies. The EU has implemented a cap and trade program for carbon dioxide.
Carbon Footprint: A calculation based on the set of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by an organization, event, product, or person.
Carbon Sink: A carbon sink is a natural or artificial reservoir that accumulates and stores carbon-containing chemical compounds for an indefinite period.
Carbon Monoxide: A deadly gas produced from the tailpipe of cars that burn gasoline.
Capacity Factor: The ratio of the actual output of a power plant over a period of time and its potential to output if it had operated at full nameplate capacity the entire time.
Cellulose: An organic compound consisting of several hundred to over ten thousand linked glucose units. Cellulose comprises the structural component of the cell wall in plants, many green algae. It is the most common organic compound on Earth comprising about 33% of plant matter.
Cellulosic Biomass: Fuel produced from wood, grasses, or the non-edible parts of plants that is mainly comprised of cellulose.
Cellulosic Feedstock: The inedible cellulose which comprises most plants and trees. Yields are much higher as any part of the plant can be used and because they do not compete with food, therefore, cellulosic feedstock is an ideal candidate for large scale sustainable biofuel production.
Cetane Rating: Also known as cetane number (CN), this is a measurement of the combustion quality of diesel fuel during compression ignition. It is a significant expression of diesel fuel quality.
Clean Power Call: A request sent out by B.C. Hydro to private power utilities for new electricity-generating projects totalling 5,000 GWh/year. B.C. Hydro will help fund the successful projects and then buy power from them once completed.
How efficiently a turbine converts the energy in wind into electricity. Just divide the electrical power output by the wind energy input.
Using the energy left over from one primary energy conversion to fuel another. The most prominent example of this are natural gas co-generation plants which first feed fuel into a gas turbine. The residual heat from that reaction then heats water to spin a steam turbine.
Collector Area: In solar thermal energy collectors, the Collector Area refers to the area that intercepts the solar radiation.
A mixture of hydrocarbons present in natural gas. When gas is lowered below the hydrocarbon dew point, a condensate, that is, a liquid, forms. These can be used for combustion just like oil and gas. These are also known as natural gas liquids.
Generation of electricity using fossil fuels.
Gas reserves that form beneath porous layers of sandstone. Until recently this has been the only kind of gas commercially extracted.
When bituminous coal is baked at high temperatures it fuses together ash and carbon, creating coke. Coke can then be used to reduce the oxygen content of iron, strengthening it and creating steel.
A force generated by to the earths rotation which deflects a body of fluid or gas moving relative to the earths surface to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. It is at its maximum at the poles and zero at the equator.
Decentralized Electricity Generation: Decentralizated electricity generation is a concept used to describe a large number of dispersed energy generators, often closely integrated with the people that use the electricity. Wind turbines and solar panels are good examples: they can be put within communities, be owned by members of the community and generate electricity for it. Alternatively centralized energy generation, far more common in North America, is where a small number of large plants owned by utility companies (hydro-electric, nuclear or fossil fuel) generate large quantities of electricity.
The portion of the oil business that involves refining the crude oil, bringing it to market and selling it. Gasoline service stations are the most lucrative part of downstream operations.
Effluents: Gases or liquids released by a human-made structure, in this case flue gases from a coal-fired power plant.
Electrolyte: Usually a solution of acids, bases, or salts, electrolytes are substances with free ions which make them effective electrical conductors.
Electrolysis: A simple technique for splitting water atoms to obtain hydrogen, driven by an electrical current.
Requirements that set specific limits to the amount of pollutants that can be released into the environment by automobiles and other powered vehicles, as well as emissions generated by industry, power plants, and small equipment.
Transforming one form of energy into another. Most energy conversions that run our economy are conversions from a primary source to electricity (wind or nuclear) or movement (oil).
Energy Currency: Energy that is usable for practical purposes. These include electricity and petroleum which power appliances and vehicles.
A measurement of the amount of energy stored in a given volume.
Energy Return On Investment (EROI): This is the ratio of usable energy obtained over the amount of energy required to get it. The oil sands has a low EROI because instead of being sucked out of the ground in liquid form the oil must be painstakingly mined and heavily refined, a process that requires large quantities of energy itself.
An energy source is the means by which energy is generated. The energy profiles each deal with a different source of energy, and most are simply means to attain the energy currency we all use: electricity.
Enhanced Geothermal System: A new technology, EGS does not require natural convective geothermal resources, but instead can draw power from the ground through extremely dry and impermeable rock.
The provincial Environmental Assessment Office is a politically neutral agency tasked with reviewing major construction projects in B.C. Their purview includes assessing the environmental, economic, social, heritage and health effects over the lifecycle of projects.
A blend of ethanol and diesel fuel. plus other additives, designed to reduce air pollution from heavy equipment, city buses and other vehicles that operate on diesel engines.
A policy device that encourages investment in renewable energies, usually by guaranteeing power producers that their energy will be bought.
In food processing, fermentation is the conversion of carbohydrates to alcohols and carbon dioxide or organic acids using yeasts, bacteria or a combination thereof, under anaerobic conditions. In simple terms, fermentation is the chemical conversion of sugars to ethanol.
A finite, or non-renewable resource, is one where a limited amount exists. Once the existing stocks of that resource are exhausted there will be no more, at least in any reasonable human time scale. Only so much fossil fuels and uranium exist on earth, making these finite, non-renewableresources. The wind, sun and tides are renewable resources since it is impossible to run out of them.
First Generation Renewable: Well established renewable technologies that emerged early on in the Industrial Revolution. These include hydropower, biomass combustion and early geothermal power.
Fission is a nuclear reaction where a heavy atom is hit by a neutron, causing it to split into lighter atoms, release more neutrons, and huge amounts of energy.
Flat-plate collectors are a type of non-concentrating solar energy collector, typically used when temperatures are below 200 degrees F. They are often used for heating buildings.
Flex-Fuel Vehicle: Also known as a dual-fuel vehicle, this is an alternative fuel vehicle with an internal combustion engine designed to run on more than one fuel, usually gasoline blended with either ethanol or methanol fuel.
Flue gases are the gases that are released into the atmosphere by a flue, or pipe, from the steam boiler.
Many biofuel feedstocks such as corn, sugarcane, and soybeans are also key sources of food for millions of people. Production of crops for bioenergy may displace other food-related crops, increasing the cost and decreasing the availability of food. The central question is one of ethics: Should we use our limited land resources to grow biofuels when the same land could be producing food for people?
Fracking: Hydraulic fracturing is the process of injecting high pressure fluids into deep, geologic formations, in order to fracture the rock and render it more permeable.
Fuel Crops: Crops grown specifically for their value as fuel to make biofuels or for their energy content.
Fumaroles: Openings in the Earths crust that emit steam and gases.
Gasohol: Otherwise known as fuel ethanol, gasohol has been distilled and dehydrated to create a high-octane, water free alcohol. All water must be removed because a water-alcohol mixture cannot dissolve in gasoline. Fuel ethanol is made unfit for drinking by adding a small amount of a noxious substance such as gasoline.
Geothermal Gradient: The rate at which temperature increases deeper into the earth, towards the earth's molten core.
Geothermal Task Force Team is a government program that aims to: develop policies, in collaboration with affected agencies, related to tenure issuance, examine the regulation of the use of geothermal resources not currently covered by legislation, build a royalty and resource rent model for geothermal resources, and develop a science based review of the known geothermal resources in the province.
Geyser: Springs characterized by intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accompanied by steam.
Giromill Turbine: Uses lift forces generated by vertical aerofoils to convert wind energy into rotational mechanical energy. They are powered by two or three vertical aerofoils attached to a central mast by horizontal supports.
Glut: A situation where the market has been flooded with goods and there is more supply than there is demand causing the price of goods to drop.
Gravity Survey: A technique of measuring minute changes in the Earths gravity field. This allows geologists to map lighter and denser rocks underground.
Green Energy and Green Economy Act of 2009: Legislation by the province of B.C. to boost the investment in renewable energy projects and increase conservation, create green jobs and economic growth in Ontario. Part of Ontario's plan to become a leading green economy in North America.
Head: The term head refers to the change in elevation of the water.
Head Differential: The difference in pressure due to the difference in height of water level.
Heat Exchangers: These are used in High-Temperature and Low-Temperature applications to transfer heat from one medium to another. In Low-Temperature Geoexchange systems they are built into the heat pump.
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine (HAWT): Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine. These are the most common types of wind turbines and look like aircraft propellers mounted atop towers.
Hydrocarbons: A compound of almost entirely hydrogen and carbon. This covers oil and natural gas. Coal, the third fossil fuel, contains so many impurities it is usually disqualified from this title.
Hydrostatic Head: The distance a volume of water has to fall in order to generate power.
Intermittent Energy Source: Any source of energy that is not continuously available due to a factor that is outside of direct control (ex. Wind speed or sunshine).
An internal combustion engine operates by burning its fuel inside the engine, rather than outside of it, as an external, or steam engine does. The most common internal combustion engine type is gasoline powered, followed by diesel, hydrogen, methane, and propane. Engines typically require adaptations (like adjusting the air/fuel ratio) to run on a different kind of fuel than they were designed for. Four-stroke internal combustion engines (each stroke marks a step in the combustion cycle) dominate the automotive and industrial realm today.
Kinetic Energy: The ability of water falling from a dam to do work, that is, to generate electricity. Water stored above a dam has potential energy which turns to kinetic energy once it begins to fall.
Levelized Cost of Electricity: The cost of generating electricity (capital, operation and maintenance costs). Measured in units of currency per unit of electricity (ex. kWh).
Magnetic Survey: A technique for measuring the intensity of magnetic fields from several stations.
Manhattan Project: The massive Anglo-American-Canadian scientific undertaking which produced the atomic bombs that helped end the Second World War. It marked the birth of the nuclear age and scientists were immediately aware of the potential to use use nuclear power for civilian use.
Market Penetration: The share of the total energy market a specific energy source has in relation to its competitors. So the market penetration of wind power would be measured by its share of the electricity market, while ethanol would be compared to other vehicle fuels, not to total primary energy use.
Matrix: In geology, this is the finer mass of tiny sediments in which larger sediments are embedded.
Methanol: Methanol is produced naturally in the anaerobic metabolism of many types of bacteria, and is ubiquitous in the environment. Methanol is toxic in humans if ingested or contacted on the skin. For its toxic properties and close boiling point with ethanol, that it is used as a denaturant for ethanol.
Miscanthus: A low maintenance perennial grass which is thought to be twice as productive as switch grass as it has a longer growing season, greater leaf area, and higher carbon storage per unit of leaf area.
MMBtu: A unit of measurement which means a million Btus (British thermal units). A Btu is roughly the amount of energy it takes to heat a half kilogram of water from 3.8 to 4.4 °C. MBtu is used for a thousand Btus.
Moderator: A moderator is used to slow down neutrons, which enables them to react with the atoms in the nuclear fuel. If enough atoms react then the reactor can sustain a nuclear chain reaction.
M Mount St. Helens is an active volcano located in Washington state. It is most famous for its catastrophic eruption on May 18, 1980 where fifty-seven people were killed, 250 homes, 47 bridges, 24 km of railways, and 298 km of highway were destroyed.
Mud-Pools: Pools of bubbling mud. Also known as "paint-pots" when the slurry of usually grey mud is streaked with red or pink spots from iron compounds.
Nacelle: The housing atop a wind turbine that holds the gearbox, generator, drive train and brakes, as well as the rotors.
Name-Plate Capacity: The intended full-load sustained output of a power plant. For example an average wind turbine's name-plate capacity is 2 Megawatts. The capacity factor is the actual output, so for that 2 MW wind turbine with an efficiency of around 30-35% (average) then it has a more realistic capacity of around 0.7 MW. Most power stations are listed in terms of their nameplate capacity.
National Energy Board: A regulatory agency established by the federal government in 1959 that is primarily tasked with regulating oil and gas pipelines that cross provincial and national borders.
National Energy Program: A set of policies enacted in 1980 that sought to make Canada energy independent. Petro-Canada was created and oil prices were kept artificially low to protect consumers. Shares of oil revenue were diverted to the federal government who used them mostly in the eastern provinces to offset a decline in manufacturing. The program was extremely unpopular in western Canada and was discontinued shortly thereafter.
Nuclear Renaissance: A term used by politicians and the media for the renewed interest in nuclear energy in the past decade. Many countries are now expanding their civilian nuclear programs.
Octane: The octane rating of a fuel is indicated on the pump – using numbers such as 87, 90, 91 etc. The higher the number, the greater the octane rating of the gasoline.
Oil in Place: The total hydrocarbon (oil and gas) content of a reservoir. Sometimes called STOOIP or Stock Tank Original Oil In Place.
Oil Patch: A term for the Canadian oil industry. This specifically means the upstream operations that find and extract oil and gas, mostly in Alberta but also B.C., the other prairie provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Oil Window: The range of temperature at which oil forms. Below a certain temperature and kerogen will never progress to the form of oil. Too high and natural gas is formed instead.
OECD: The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is a 34 country organization dedicated to advocating democracy and the market economy. Membership is largely limited to Western Europe, North America, Australia and Japan, what are often considered the world's developed nations. Sometimes referred to in the media as the "rich countries' club".
Passive Seismic Survey: A way to detect oil and gas by measuring the Earths natural low frequency movements.
Peak Power Demand: Power demand varies over minutes, hours, days and months. Peak power demand are the times when the most people are using the most power. To meet this demand extra sources of power must be switched on. Some forms of electricity generation, such as natural gas turbines, can be turned on quickly to meet peak power demand and are better suited for this purpose than others, such as nuclear, which are better as sources of baseload power.
Permeability: A measure of the ability of a porous rock to allow fluids to pass through it. High permeability in the surrounding rocks is needed for the formation of gas reserves.
Photovoltaic Cell: A non-mechanical device typically fabricated from silicon alloys that generates electricity from direct sunlight.
Pickens Plan: Investment of $1 trillion into wind power in the U.S.A., named for an American oil tycoon. The plan aims to reduce the amount of foreign oil imported to the U.S.A. while providing economic and environmental benefits.
Pondage: The main difference between small and large hydro projects is the existence of stored power in the form of water which is held back by dams at large hydro stations. Some small hydro projects have pondage, however, which are small ponds behind the weir of a dam which can store water for up to a week.
Potential Energy: The energy stored in a body or a system.
Porosity: Closely related to permeability, this is a measure of the amount of "voids," or empty space in a rock where gas or oil can pass through to collect in a reservoir.
Possible Reserves: Possible reserves are a class of unproven reserves that geologists use for oil that they are only 10% sure is present in the ground.
Purchasing Power Agreement: A contract between two parties, one who generates power for sale, and another who is looking to purchase it. B.C. Hydro buys power from companies that build their own power generating stations.
Primary Battery: A primary battery is one that is non-rechargable because the electrochemical reaction goes only one way. It gives out energy and cannot be reversed.
Primary Gas: The degeneration of decayed organic matter directly into gas through a process called "thermal cracking." This is opposed to secondary gas which is formed from decayed oil that has already formed.
Probable Reserves: Probable reserves are a class of unproven reserves that geologists use for oil or gas that they are at least 50% sure is actually present.
Proven Reserves: An amount of a resource any resource to be dug out of the ground (oil, coal, natural gas or uranium in energy terms) that geologists have a 90% or higher certainty can be extracted for a commercial gain with the technology available at the time."
Recompleted: The process, by which an old oil well is redrilled, fractured, or has some other technology applied to improve the amount of oil recovered.
Reforming: In oil refining, reforming is using heat to break down, or crack, hydrocarbon atoms and increase their octane level. This technique creates some left-over hydrogen which can be collected and used.
Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS): Law that requires electric utilities to produce some portion of their power from renewable sources like wind, solar, geothermal or biomass. RPSs are necessary to keep renewables competitive in an era of cheap natural gas electricity.
Rent-Seeking: The practice of using resources to compete for existing wealth rather than to create new wealth, often to the detriment of those who seek to reform societies or institutions. Economies that fail to diversify away from oil are often pre-dominated by a rent-seeking mind-set where people become more pre-occupied with securing the windfall resouce profits for themselves, usually oil, rather than seeking to develop new industries.
Reserves: The fraction of the oil in place that can be considered extractable. This depends not only on the geology, but the economics (is oil expensive enough to make extracting it profitable?) and technology.
Reserve Growth: When an oil or gas field is first discovered, reserve estimates tend to be low. The estimates of the size of the field are expected to grow over time and this is called reserves growth.
Ring of Fire: The Pacific Ring of Fire is a region of high volcanic and seismic activity that surrounds the majority of the Pacific Ocean. This region is essentially a horseshoe of geologic activity, characterized by volcanoes, earthquakes, deep sea trenches, and major fault zones.
Riparian: The term riparian refers to the wetland area surrounding rivers or streams. A riparian ecosystem refers to the biological community supported by an area around a river.
Savonius Turbine: Uses drag generated by the wind hitting the cup, like aerofoils, to create rotation.
Second Generation Wind Turbine: Technology that is only now beginning to enter the market as a result of research, development and demonstration. These are: solar, wind, tidal, advanced geothermal and modern bioenergy. Much hope has been placed upon these technologies but they still provide only a fraction of our energy.
Secondary Battery: Rechargable batteries are sometimes known as secondary batteries because their electro-chemical reactions can be reversed.
Secondary Gas: When oil is subjected to so much heat and pressure it degenerates into gas. The process through which this happens called "thermal cracking."
Secondary Recovery Schemes: When so much oil has been sucked out of an oil reservoir it will lose pressure and the oil will no longer flow out of the reservoir from natural pressure. When this happens secondary recovery schemes can be employed. This means that fluids or gases are pumped into the well to increase pressure and push the remaining oil up out of the well.
Shale: A type of sedimentary rock with low permeability, which was once thought to prevent any commercial extraction of the gas inside. Fracking allows gas developers to access it.
Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR): Initially devised as a technique for detecting submarines. An emitter sends off pulses of sound. The pulses bounce off objects and return to a receiver which interprets their size and distance.
Spot Market: A market where commodities are traded for immediate delivery. A future market on the other hand is one where delivery is expected later on. Because of the dependence of gas users on those who are at the other end of the gas pipeline, the natural gas market is mostly a futures market.
Steam Coal: Steam coal is coal used for power generation in thermal power plants. This is typically coal that ranges in quality from sub-bituminous to bituminous.
Straight Vegetable Oil (SVO): Vegetable oil fuel. Most diesel engine vehicles can run on it so long as the viscosity of the oil is lowered enough for complete combustion. Failure to do this can damage the engine. SVO is also known as pure plant oil or PPO.
Strategic Petroleum Reserve: An emergency store of oil maintained by some governments and corporations. The U.S. Department of Energy holds 727 million barrels of oil.
Subcritical Power Plant: A coal-fired power plant that operates at less than 550ËšC. Because the temperatures and pressures are than other plants, these plants operate at a low efficiency, around 33-35%. These plants are still the most common in the world and many are under construction
Supercritical Power Plant: Supercritical plants are coal powered power plants that can sustain temperatures of 550ËšC to 590ËšC and transfer up to 40% of the coals energy into power. This technology has only come into use in recent years. Most new coal-fired power plants built in the West are supercritical.
Switchgrass: One of the dominant native species of the North American prairies, tallgrass is being researched as a renewable bioenergy crop. It is a a native perennial warm season grass with the ability to produce moderate to high yields on marginal farmlands.
Thermal Power Plant: A thermal power plant is any that is powered by a steam turbine. The steam is created by heating water which in turn spins the turbine. Most coal and gas power stations operate in this way, as do all nuclear plants. Coal powered and gas plants are often just called thermal plants.
Total Carbon Cost: The amount of carbon dioxide emitted during an action or a process. One exmaple is building a natural gas plant. The total carbon cost would include everything from the carbon emitted to get the materials to build the plant, to the carbon emitted in the building of the plant, and the carbon emitted during the operation of the plant.
Unconventional Gas: Unconventional gas reserves come in many different geological formations, and include tight gas, shale gas, coalbed methane and methane hydrates. Extraction of these sources has only just begun and has hugely extended the lives of many gas fields and unlocking many new ones. The unlocking of unconventional gas reserves in the last five years has revolutionized the global energy system.
Ultracritical Power Plant: These are coal thermal power plants that operate above 590ËšC and can attain efficiencies above 40%. These plants are just coming into service.
Undiscovered Reserves: The amount of oil and gas estimated to exist in unexplored areas. Much of B.C. has not been thoroughly explored for fossil fuel potential and many of the estimates of B.C. fossil fuel resources rely on the concept of undiscovered resources
United States Geological Survey (USGS): The United States Geological Survey. The department responsible for estimating American fossil fuel reserves. They also conduct many studies that span the globe.
Unproven Reserves: Oil reserves in the ground that petroleum geologists are less certain are there, but have strong reason to believe is present. Unproven reserves can be broken down into probable reserves and possible reserves. These numbers are used within oil companies but not usually published.
The portion of the oil business that involves finding oil and extracting it.
Uranium is a heavy metal that is naturally radioactive. An isotope, U-235 can be enriched to support a nuclear chain reaction. Uranium is used in many nuclear power plants.
A 2,730 MW dam built in north-eastern British Columbia along the Peace River during the 1960s.
Any activity where humans bore down into the Earth to access reserves of oil or gas trapped in underground geological formations.
These are produced from wood residue (like sawdust) collected from sawmills and wood product manufacturers. Heat and pressure are used to transform wood residue into pellets without chemical additives, binders or glue. The pellets can be used in stoves and boilers.
A remote mountain in Western Nevada where the U.S. Department of Energy has planned on storing all of the country's spent nuclear fuel underground since the 1990s. The proposal met stiff opposition from local residents and in 2009 the project was cancelled.