Recently, there’s been a lot of talk in Maine about Canadian hydropower. Maine citizens have the right to know the facts about hydropower, not a list of misleading statements.

I’m a climate scientist and have measured the emissions from hydropower reservoirs in Québec for 25 years.

Hydropower development does create carbon emissions, but these emissions are much lower than those from fossil fuels like natural gas or oil. When hydropower reservoirs are created, emissions from reservoir creation increase in the first years but then decrease to the level of surrounding waterways within a maximum of 10 years. A hydropower generating station in Québec is built to produce electricity for at least 100 years, serving generations in a sustainable manner.

Our water is cold and well-oxygenated; therefore, methane emissions rarely form in boreal reservoirs such as those in Québec. The 500,000 measurements that we have taken prove that methane is just not an issue in our reservoirs.

Québec hydropower is one of the lowest-emission-generating options per kilowatt-hour produced. It’s not me or Hydro-Québec that says it – it’s a university chair who studies science-based life cycle analysis (see https://tinyurl.com/venq9xf). And many more scientific studies on the subject are available online at https://www.hydroquebec.com/sustainable-development/specialized-documentation/ghg-reservoir.html.

We’re faced with a global climate crisis. Our society must reduce its carbon footprint and move toward lower-emitting sources. Hydropower generated in Québec is one of those sources. By using wind and solar together with hydropower, we can create a cleaner electricity system.

For more information, please visit hydroquebec.com/clean-facts.

Alain Tremblay

Ph.D., environmental sciences; senior environmental adviser on aquatic ecosystems, Hydro-Québec

Varennes, Québec


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: