Let's Dam Manitoba

03.06.13 10:00 PM ET

Greetings from Manitoba, the Saudi Arabia of untapped hydroelectric potential.

As Eli Lehrer reports:

Canada has an estimated 163,000 megawatts of untapped hydro capacity: enough to meet any expected increases in U.S. demand for electricity, enough to transform about a third of the U.S. vehicle fleet to electrical power or to replace many scheduled-for-retirement power-generating plants.

Manitoba is unusually rich in untapped hydropower resources, but unfortunately also remote from North America's major electricity markets. But here's the good news: we are making amazing progress reducing the loss of electricity during transmission over distances. Over the past 30 years, the United States has cut its transmission loss rate from 9% to 6%. Experts hope for further reductions, enabling power to move over even greater distances - maybe all the way from Manitoba to the Midwest.