Electricity often travels over very long distances to reach urban load centres. For example, the distance between James Baywhere water from the Grande Rivière ends up after driving the turbines in eight power stationsand Montréal is about 1,000 kilometres as the crow flies. However, the farther electricity must travel, the greater the risk that part of it will be lost on the way. Since utilities invest heavily in the high-volume transmission of power over long distances, they take special steps to limit these transmission losses.
High-voltage transmission, a solution perfected by Hydro-Québec
When moving large volumes of electricity, it's better to increase voltage instead of current intensity (amperage), in order to reduce energy losses and line construction costs. A large portion of the power generated by Hydro-Québec is transmitted using 735-kV lines. Without these high-voltage lines, the landscape would be cluttered with towers. One 735-kV line is equal to four 315-kV lines, the next voltage level down. In fact, Hydro-Québec is a pioneer in high-voltage power transmission: it developed the world's first commercial 735-kV line, as well as the earliest equipment designed for that voltage.