Quebec’s Energy Future - We need to talk about it
Quebecers must be part of the discussions about our energy transition
The demand for renewable energy is constantly increasing. In Quebec, we need to make ecologically responsible choices to make better use of our limited hydroelectric resources. We need to make smart planning decisions around the development of various renewable energy sources.
54% of the energy consumed in Quebec in 2019 was still produced from fossil fuels. To decarbonize Quebec's buildings, vehicles and industries and transition this use of fossil fuels to electricity, we will need an additional one-half Hydro-Québec (in other words, at least 100 TWh) by 2050, according to government estimates.
The current surplus of hydroelectricity will soon be gone and will therefore not be enough to ensure the transition of all sectors, nor Quebec's energy independence. We need to reflect on current and future consumption and what choices can be made to limit the use of resources.
The Quebec government is looking to increase hydroelectric production in order to attract industry, but the future of our energy cannot be thought of solely in terms of economic development.
Quebec does not have an energy strategy that will allow us to quickly move away from fossil fuels and meet our climate targets by 2050.
Decisions regarding the future of energy are currently being made behind closed doors, by the new Committee on the Economy and Energy Transition, composed of a few ministers and the CEO of Hydro-Québec.
Increasing electricity production, regardless of the type of energy (e.g. hydro, solar or wind), has socio-environmental impacts.
Electrifying all areas of our economy by building new hydroelectric plants with dams cannot be the only solution. We must also rethink the way Quebecers consume energy.
“ So here’s the question: will our hydroelectric power be used to drive the ecological transition or will it be a tool for economic growth? ”
Now that the government has announced a public consultation on Quebec's energy future in the spring - to be led by the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon - we want to know how it will unfold, what it will cover and who it will involve.
We’re at a crossroads. As a society, Quebecers must collectively discuss how we want to use our precious renewable energy: what should it be used to produce, for what purpose, for whose benefit?
Demande de BAPE générique sur l’avenir énergétique du Québec
pdf - 0.05 mb Demande de BAPE générique sur l’avenir énergétique du QuébecSee document
These questions are too important to be discussed behind closed doors. We must ensure that the priorities of Quebecers, Indigenous communities and other experts are taken into account.
It's time to redesign Quebec's energy future.
Help us call for a collective discussion on Quebec's energy future!
Why do we need to involve all stakeholders in a discussion on our energy future?
There are two competing visions regarding the future of energy in Quebec. On the one hand, many stakeholders in the environmental and social sectors feel that it is essential for the government to prioritize Quebec's decarbonization needs, before determining whether the province can afford to allocate significant energy resources to stimulating new industrial sectors. On the other hand, the government sees the potential for growth in electricity production in Quebec as an opportunity for economic and industrial development. In other words, adjusting energy production according to growth, as we have always done.
According to various experts, the government's energy calculations simply don't make sense: despite a significant increase in energy capacity, we will be unable to meet both the needs of carbon neutrality by 2050 and still promote projects focused exclusively on "economic development." Source.
History has shown that when Quebecers work together on energy issues, we are capable of great achievements. With the nationalization of Montreal Light, Heat and Power in 1944, the government of Adélard Godbout paved the way for Quebec's first energy revolution, which would later become a reality in 1962 with the "Maître chez nous" campaign of the Lesage government and René Lévesque, its Minister of Natural Resources. As a result of having extended the nationalization of electric power production to the entire province, Quebec was positioned environmentally for years to come.
Doesn’t Hydro-Québec have a surplus of energy?
The days of hydroelectricity surpluses in Quebec are over.
There are two main reasons:
1) The demand for electricity is increasing.
From 2019 to 2029, Hydro-Québec expects consumption to grow by 20 terawatt hours (TWh), or 12%.
2) Hydro-Québec has signed new export contracts
Hydro-Québec has signed major export contracts in recent years with the states of New York and Massachusetts. Here again, these contracts represent nearly 20 TWh.
For more information: https://ici.radio-canada.ca/no...
Why not just build more power plants to increase our capacity and support economic development?
The cost of new electricity will be higher than the cost of our heritage pool. While it currently costs about 3 cents per kilowatthour (kWh), new supplies, including the construction of new hydroelectric plants, could cost about 11 cents on average.
But large industrial players are offered preferential rates of around 5 cents per kWh. If we’re developing new power generation capacity to attract these new players, we will be selling our hydroelectricity at a loss.
Why will Quebec's energy transition generate such a high demand for electricity?
The Chair in Energy Sector Management at HEC Montréal estimated that in 2019, almost 54% of the energy consumed in Quebec was derived from fossil fuels.
Quebec’s energy transition will cause a strong increase in demand, especially when it comes to transitioning essential sectors away from fossil fuels:
Converting building heating to electricity
Electrifying or decarbonizing industrial processes
Hydro-Québec’s current capacity is around 200 terawatt hours (TWh). According to Hydro-Québec's 2022-2026 strategic plan, the province will need more than 100 additional TWh of energy to transition these sectors to net zero emissions by 2050.
What is a BAPE?
The Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) is a neutral public body that reports to the Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks. It helps inform the public and enables citizens to exercise their right to speak out on projects that have the potential to impact the environment, their quality of life or to have a say on any environment-related issue submitted by the Minister.
The BAPE generally examines the impacts of large-scale projects (landfills, mining projects, highways, etc.). It can also study more global issues likely to have major repercussions for Quebecers. It is in this last case that its mandates are qualified as "generic".
Citizens, groups and municipalities that wish to obtain additional information on a project or issue or who want to be able to express their concerns or opinions on it may request that the Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks hold a public consultation or conduct mediation.
For more: https://archives.bape.gouv.qc....