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Quebec’s Energy Future

We need to focus on collective energy sobriety and energy efficiency

The context

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.

  • 50% of the energy consumed in Quebec in 2020 was still from fossil fuels. To decarbonize Quebec's buildings, vehicles and industries and transition this use of fossil fuels to renewable energy, we will need at least an additional one-half Hydro-Québec (in other words, at least 100 TWh) by 2050, according to government estimates.

  • Our current surplus of hydroelectricity will soon be gone. We therefore cannot count on it to ensure the transition of all sectors, nor for Quebec's energy security.

  • Quebec does not have an energy strategy or policy to quickly transition away from fossil fuels and meet our climate targets by 2050.

The issues

  • The Quebec government is looking to increase renewable energy production, particularly hydroelectric, without first putting measures in place to reduce the demand for energy.

  • The intention to increase production is not motivated solely by the needs of the energy transition, but also in order to attract energy-intensive industries. In the midst of a climate and biodiversity crisis, the future of our energy cannot be guided solely by economic development.

  • Increasing electricity production, regardless of the type of energy (e.g. hydro, solar or wind), has socio-environmental impacts. Building new hydroelectric plants and dams cannot be the only solution.

The opportunity

When the government hinted at potential new "dams" during the 2022 election period, Équiterre started to mobilize.

Before making major decisions about the province's energy future, we must ensure that the government is well informed about the different perspectives, the multitude of possible solutions and the impacts of various scenarios. We want these decisions to be made in a transparent manner, within an energy strategy that is aligned with the province's climate targets and territorial development plans. Up until now, this is unfortunately not the case.

Équiterre and its partners called on the government to hold a large societal debate on our energy future. In the summer of 2023, the government proposed a format that did not live up to our expectations. Despite the fact that the consultation was not as wide-ranging and accessible as we had hoped, we nevertheless mobilized our members and supporters to participate in order to make our priorities heard.

Thank you to all those who took part in order to share their priorities with the government - to let them know that we want our energy future to be carbon neutral, equitable and respectful of the environment.

We're closely monitoring the government's and Hydro-Québec's announcements this fall to keep up the pressure and assert our vision for Quebec’s energy future: one of sobriety, efficiency and affordability. Équiterre will continue to encourage the government to change course - to follow an alternative route to the one we're currently on.

Our impact

  • 4,000 Nearly 4,000 messages sent to the consultation through our website
  • 450 Over 450 participants at our 12 city tour of Quebec to discuss our energy future
  • 4 4 online sessions held to help citizens complete the official consultation form
  • 200 More than 200 consultation forms were completed through these sessions

Our vision

Quebec is at a crossroads for the energy transition. To move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible, we must go much further than simply replacing them with hydroelectricity (for which current surpluses won’t last much longer).

Rather than opting for the easy (though ill-adapted to today's reality) solution of building new hydroelectric infrastructure, Équiterre is proposing a paradigm shift.

To achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, there will need to be a focus on collective energy sobriety and energy efficiency in all areas of society, to encourage the emergence of:

  • more active, collective and shared mobility;
  • more sustainable land use planning;
  • more energy-efficient buildings;
  • a more circular economy;
  • a more local, environmentally responsible and healthier food system.

A successful energy transition will also reduce social inequalities, protect the environment and ensure that electricity remains affordable to all Quebecers.

Our government recommendations

Équiterre is calling on the government to implement this vision of a more prosperous, equitable and sustainable Quebec, truly in control of its energy.

As part of the Consultation sur l'encadrement et le développement des énergies propres au Québec, Équiterre submitted proposals that could be implemented in every sector of society.

To learn more about these proposals

Have a look at our recommendations
  • What will life be like when Quebec is carbon neutral?
    Here's Équiterre's vision
  • What does doubling energy capacity mean?
    See what it means

 Équiterre is all for electrification, but not at any cost. Simply replacing one type of energy for another won’t work. The energy transition must attack the root of the problem: energy overconsumption and waste. 

Andréanne Brazeau

Climate Policy Analyst




Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon introduces Bill 69 on the governance of Quebec's energy resources. Équiterre has reservations about this bill, since its main objective is to accelerate energy production rather than to reduce consumption.



Hydro-Québec unveils its new action plan to double Quebec's energy capacity by 2050.


End of the government's public consultation on Quebec's energy future.


Équiterre offered webinars to help citizens fill out the official consultation form.

Équiterre submitted its brief to the consultation.


Public consultation begins 

The government opened its online consultation on Quebec's energy future to citizens from June 2 to August 1.

Participation in the consultation: mobilizing citizens and experts 

Équiterre encouraged Quebecers to take part in the consultation and make their voices heard by sending a pre-written email.

Start of the mobilization tour across Quebec! 

Équiterre toured Quebec to screen the film "Après La Romaine" and held public discussions about Quebec's energy's future.


Education and mobilization on the energy transition

Équiterre held a webinar to present the key principles of our vision of a carbon-neutral, equitable and environmentally-responsible energy future for Quebec. Watch the webinar.

We encouraged our supporters to reach out to their Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) to share these key principles.


Denying out demands and those of over 100 environmental and citizens' groups, the government did not agree to mandate the BAPE for its consultation on Quebec's energy future. On April 26, the government announced that it would consult experts and the public, however, the format of the consultation left much to be desired. Read our joint reaction.


We worked to clarify the truth about our energy needs and capacities in Quebec and to bust some myths. Read our article.

In collaboration with the G15+, we reminded the government of the importance of holding a BAPE-led consultation. Read our press release.


Along with 100 other groups, we reiterated our request to the government to mandate the BAPE (Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement) to hold a generic consultation on Quebec's energy future. Have a look at our press release and joint letter.


Following our petition, we began to talk publicly about how Quebec's energy future is on the verge of a structural overhaul, in order to make people aware of the issues and the consequences. Read our open letter.

We launched a petition asking for a generic consultation by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE) that was signed by 11,000 people.



In November 2022, the Premier stated the intention to invite Quebecers to a "real societal debate" on our energy, and announced the possibility of a public consultation on Quebec's energy future in the spring. The consultation would be led by the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon.

The government must respect our public participation and environmental protection mechanisms

Frequently asked questions