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Brief – Public consultation on the supervision and development of clean energy in Quebec

Rivière du Petit-Mécatina

Fondation Rivières submitted a brief to the Ministry of the Economy, Innovation and Energy as part of the public consultation on the supervision and development of clean energies in Quebec

Energy issues: a responsible strategy to be developed collectively to preserve rivers

Faced with the increase in Quebec's energy demand and the transition to carbon neutrality, we consider it necessary to develop an energy policy that makes it possible to meet the future needs of Quebec society while maintaining the integrity of waterways, a inestimable wealth of our natural heritage. 

Balance between supply and demand

To achieve this, we recommend completely abandoning fossil fuels without turning exclusively to the electrification of transport, but rather towards energy sobriety and focusing on the potential for energy efficiency as well as the wind-hydraulic twinning.

We believe that a moratorium on the construction of large hydroelectric dams should be put in place considering that the new energy policy must necessarily be based on a rigorous analysis of alternatives, the increasing costs of producing hydroelectricity, jobs and real economic benefits. different sources of energy, environmental impacts and social aspects of hydroelectric works. 

We therefore recommend consideration of all the social, economic and environmental impacts of hydroelectricity in energy guidelines, among other things by:

  • taking into account externalities linked to hydroelectric production, as well as to any other energy option, when evaluating the economic profitability of projects;
  • consideration of the economic and social benefits of ecotourism when studying the hydroelectric sector and other energy sectors;
  • carrying out independent studies on the social impacts arising from large hydroelectric projects on indigenous communities;
  • consideration of the cumulative environmental impacts of hydroelectric projects.


From a social justice perspective, we recommend that any provision which could penalize low or modest income households be excluded. 

Energy governance and the energy transition

On governance, we recommend giving primacy to the environment and social equity, developing programs and incentives that are fair and accessible to the entire population, including the revision of the Building Code, combining the regulation and fiscal tools to promote actions congruent with the energy transition, to submit energy production to the Régie de l'énergie and guarantee its role as an independent regulator, to maintain the leadership of the Quebec state and to deploy an energy transition plan with objectives targeting all sectors of activity and short, medium and long term targets subject to an annual evaluation.

Finally, it seems obvious to us that we would have every interest in drawing inspiration from the experience and know-how of Europe, especially France, to develop the future energy policy.

Photo : Petit Mécatina River, Gabriel Rondeau

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