Grid integration aided by hydro

Canada's heavy reliance on hydro could make it easier to integrate large amounts of wind power into the country's electricity grid. The seasonal distribution of wind energy not only closely matches electricity demand, but also complements water inflows, allowing utilities to store more water in their reservoirs. A recent study shows that in Quebec alone, 8000 MW of wind could be added without significant new investment in the system, said Gaetan Lafrance of Quebec's Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique at October's Canadian wind conference. Another study shows the addition of wind makes a hydro-based system less dependent on thermal generation to meet increased demand. "This means the intermittent characteristic of wind is less important than commonly considered," said Lafrance. Canada's major reservoir systems are distributed across the country, particularly in British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec, which favours the development of wind across all regions. A key to meeting the wind industry's 10 by 10 goal (10,000 MW by 2010) will be the removal of inter-provincial transmission barriers, said Lafrance.