Hydro-Québec recently released its Action Plan 2035 – Towards a Decarbonized and Prosperous Québec to further actions that reduce greenhouse gases, meet expected growth in electricity demand and offer customers a reliable and affordable service.

“Climate change is intensifying and we must take action. Québec’s clean electricity will be the driving force of the energy transition, which will require a collective effort. In the coming years, our Action Plan 2035 will guide us towards the attainment of our goals: to replace fossil fuels by clean electricity, create sustainable prosperity and place customers at the heart of our decisions,” said Michael Sabia, Hydro-Québec’s president and chief executive officer.

To ensure the reliability of the electricity grid, Hydro-Québec will significantly increase investments, which will total from $45 to $50 billion by 2035. First the utility will work to stabilize the situation regarding power outages and then will reduce their frequency by 35 per cent over the next seven to 10 years. Crews are planning to “step up” vegetation control work, adopt innovative practices like the direct, or “light,” burial of power lines, and roll out new equipment, such as composite poles.

Energy efficiency is expected to play a key role in helping reduce customers’ electricity bills. Hydro-Québec aims to double energy savings to 21 TWh, or 3,500 MW, by 2035. To achieve this, we will enhance financial incentives to cover up to 50 per cent of the cost of high-efficiency equipment. We will also provide assistance to encourage energy-efficient renovations.

Twice as much electricity required by 2050

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Based on a long-term forecast of energy requirements, we currently estimate that we will need an additional 150 to 200 TWh to meet electricity demand in Québec by 2050. That’s double the electricity consumed today. To handle this growth, we will need an additional 60 TWh by 2035, which means adding between 8,000 and 9,000 MW of capacity. Of this increase, 75 per cent will be used to decarbonize Quebecers’ current consumption, while 25 per cent will be used to support economic growth, particularly in industrial sectors involved in the energy transition.

Hydro-Québec plans to triple wind power generation by integrating more than 10,000 MW of wind capacity into the grid by 2035. In addition, from 3,800 to 4,200 MW of new hydropower generation will be added by increasing the capacity of existing generating stations and developing new hydropower facilities, including a pumped-storage facility. The energy mix will also include solar energy and battery storage, and we will consider other technologies currently under development around the world.

Five key priorities of the new plan

Hydro-Québec’s Action Plan 2035 revolves around five priorities:

  1. Increase  investments in the power grid to offer our customers reliable, high-quality service at an affordable price.
  2. Innovate to encourage  customers to treat electricity as a valuable resource that should be used wisely.
  3. Identify and launch the best projects that will enable the generation of more electricity to support Québec’s ambitions and remain open to all options available.
  4. Work towards economic reconciliation with First Nations and Inuit, in collaboration with the Québec government.
  5. Transform ways of doing things to better meet customers’ needs and support Québec’s decarbonization and economic prosperity.
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After a period of stability, we are entering a major phase of growth that will require significant investments. The utility estimates that these investments and the operating expenses that will be necessary to carry out Action Plan 2035 will total from $155 to $185 billion. This translates into an annual average that is three to four times higher than those of the past five years.

The utility is encouraging feedback from stakeholders and Quebeckers herehttps://www.hydroquebec.com/about/publications-reports/action-plan-2035.html

For its part, the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) is pleased to see that Hydro-Québec’s action plan includes a significant increase in the deployment of renewable energy to decarbonize Quebec’s economy in the coming years.

“We would like to highlight the scale and speed of Hydro-Québec’s planned deployment of renewable energy,” said Jean Habel, CanREA’s director for Quebec and Atlantic Canada. “This 2035 action plan provides important long-term predictability for CanREA members, who will be key partners in the success of these plans.”

Hydro-Québec’s 2035 action plan will enhance Quebec’s energy portfolio with more wind and solar energy, in addition to energy storage. “Wind will make a significant contribution to future energy deployment in Quebec, with Hydro-Quebec’s plans to triple wind generation to over 10,000 MW by 2035,” added Habel.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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