Hydro-Quebec's 735,000 volt electric power transmission system was the first in the world to be designed, built and operated at an alternating-current voltage above 700 kV. This development extended the limits of long-distance transmission of electrical energy. On 29 November 1965 the first 735 kV line was inaugurated. Power was transmitted from the Manicouagan-Outardes hydro-electric generating complex to Montreal, a distance of 600 km.
This low-head operating plant is representative of nineteenth-century hydropower-plant practice using many small turbines in contrast to twentieth-century use of few large turbines and generators. Its 40,000 horsepower capacity made it the largest in the country using turbines of American design (McCormick-Francis). The contemporary and larger Niagara installation used turbines of French design (Fourneyron). The entrepreneur of this plant was Francis Clergue, a lawyer, who employed as his chief engineer Hans A.E. von Schon, a German immigrant who had served with the U.S.