"Wasting" Hydro Power?
I'm not sure if anyone on the forums knows a lot about hydro power, I'm trying to figure out the energy situation that I'm living within (Winnipeg, MB, Canada), which rely's on hydro power exclusively for electricity (and natural gas for a lot of our heating.)
Are there ecological downsides to "wasting" hydro power?
I know there are environmental problems with setting up dams to create hydro power. And of course, from a personal standpoint, the less power that you use, the less that you have to pay for, and the more resilient you are overall.
Beyond that though, I'm wondering if there is any particular virtue in using less electricity in a hydro powered system. (I happen to live in an apartment where utilities are just part of the rent, you don't pay for what you use beyond that.)
I'm thinking that the turbines at the hydro stations are turning continuously no matter what, generating voltage regardless of whether we make use of it or not. It seems like a very different situation than a power plant that uses coal or natural gas to create electricity - in that case, if the region kept their usage low, less fossil fuels would be consumed, less GHG would be emitted into the atmosphere.
I know that Manitoba does sell some power outside the province, so I'm thinking there might be benefit to conservation there, if we could supply more hydro power to an area that is relying on fossil fuel generated power.
Anyways, just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on this issue, thx.