Powering up

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text disable_pattern=”true” align=”left” margin_bottom=”0″][mk_dropcaps style=”simple-style”]J[/mk_dropcaps]ust before 4:10 P.M. on Aug. 14, 2003, more than 50 million people in Ontario and the northeastern United States lost power. A tree contacting a transmission line in Ohio combined with poor operating practices at an Ohio-based energy company led to cascading blackouts and, at that time, the second worst power failure in history.

Most of us rarely think about the sources of our electricity. In Canada, the bulk of our electrical generation sites are in northern areas, with transmission lines running south to feed the significant power demands of homes and businesses in urban markets. In Quebec, for instance, power lines run some 1,000 kilometres from the north to Montreal and U.S. markets. The country’s electrical system, like any, is a careful balancing act of supply and demand; if the scales are tipped too far one way, the results can be devastating.

Canada’s electricity grid is a web-like network of transmission lines — about 160,000 kilometres in total. It’s divided into three interconnected systems: the western grid, the eastern grid and the Quebec grid, which serves Atlantic Canada. Canada’s electricity is generally transmitted in a north-south pattern, and these major grids are interconnected with electricity networks south of the border as well.

Indeed, Canada’s electrical grids are highly integrated with those in the U.S., and the states are a net importer of electricity from Canada. The largest electricity trade moves from Ontario to New York, Michigan and Minnesota and from eastern Canada, mainly Quebec, to New England, New York and the U.S. Midwest.

Click on the map below to read more about the continent’s intricate electricity system.[mk_font_icons icon=”icon-stop” size=”small” padding_horizental=”4″ padding_vertical=”4″ circle=”false” align=”none”][/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][mk_image src=”http://energyexchange.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Powering_up_Map.gif” image_width=”1075″ image_height=”1400″ crop=”false” lightbox=”true” frame_style=”simple” target=”_self” caption_location=”inside-image” align=”left” margin_bottom=”10″][/vc_column][/vc_row]