Increase capacity and reliability with Hydro-Québec's $185 billion investment by 2035.

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【Summary】Hydro-Québec plans to invest up to $185 billion by 2035 to increase capacity and reliability in order to meet the growing demand for electricity from industry and electric cars. The utility expects demand to double by 2050, with most of the increase coming from the replacement of fossil fuels. The investment will go towards boosting production capacity, improving the electricity transportation network, and exploring new technology.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 02, 2023 11:36 PM PT
Increase capacity and reliability with Hydro-Québec's $185 billion investment by 2035.

Quebec's power utility, Hydro-Québec, has announced plans to invest up to $185 billion over the next 12 years. The investment aims to increase capacity and reliability to meet the expected high demand for electricity from industries and electric cars. The utility predicts that demand will rise by 150 to 200 terawatt hours by 2050, with 75% of the increase coming from the replacement of fossil fuels with electricity.

Hydro-Québec CEO Michael Sabia stated that the plan is ambitious but necessary to decarbonize the economy and promote future economic growth in Quebec. The utility plans to invest between $155 billion and $185 billion by 2035 to boost power generation and reduce outages. This includes increasing production capacity by 60 TWhs and strengthening the electricity transportation network.

Sabia believes that by building new hydro stations and utilizing improved technology, Hydro-Québec can generate an additional 3,800 to 4,200 megawatts of power. He mentioned the possibility of new dams but emphasized that the utility is still studying various options and engaging in discussions with Indigenous communities.

Hydro-Québec aims to establish a partnership model with Indigenous communities, where projects become a long-term source of revenue for First Nations. The utility also plans to diversify its energy sources by tripling its use of wind power, increasing the use of solar energy, and incorporating renewable natural gas.

Quebec Premier François Legault has envisioned Quebec as the "battery of North America" due to its clean electricity supply. Hydro-Québec has signed major export deals with neighboring American states. However, concerns have been raised about the utility's ability to keep up with these ambitions.

Notably absent from Hydro-Québec's plan is any mention of the Churchill Falls Generating Station in Labrador. While Quebec intends to continue purchasing from the facility, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey has suggested that Quebec will have to pay more for this privilege.

In addition to increasing capacity, Hydro-Québec plans to invest $45 billion to $50 billion to enhance the reliability of its infrastructure. The utility aims to reduce the number of outages by 37% over the next seven to ten years.

Encouraging customers to reduce electricity consumption, particularly during peak hours, is another priority for Hydro-Québec. However, residential rates, currently the lowest in the country, will not increase beyond three percent annually. Business rates, on the other hand, may see an increase to maintain the competitiveness of Quebec's economy.

The plan estimates that building the new infrastructure will require approximately 35,000 construction workers annually. This presents a significant challenge considering Quebec's existing labor shortage.

Overall, Hydro-Québec's investment plan aims to meet the growing demand for electricity, decarbonize the economy, and ensure a reliable and sustainable energy future for Quebec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 2, 2023.

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