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The study of the hydroelectric potential of the Petit Mécatina river is unjustified

Carte Google Map Québec - la rivière du Petit Mécatina


Montreal, April 4, 2023 – Fondation Rivières considers that the preliminary study on the hydroelectric potential of the Petit Mécatina river by Hydro-Québec is unjustified. Although estimates indicate that Quebec will have to add 100 TWh to its annual electricity production by 2050, solutions with less environmental, social and financial impact exist to achieve this objective. The organization encourages Hydro-Québec to explore other avenues, such as wind power, the optimization of its existing power plants, and energy efficiency, three elements already considered by the state-owned company.

“We are preparing to flood the equivalent of half of the Island of Montreal, or more than 200 km2, and to artificialize one of the last great wild rivers in Quebec while we have not even started serious steps in energy savings and we are only just beginning to exploit the immense wind potential,” reacts André Bélanger, general director of Fondation Rivières.

The Petit Mécatina river had already been identified inHydro-Québec's 2009-2013 strategic plan, but the option of building new dams was not considered in the last strategic plan 2022-2026, since less expensive alternatives were considered.

The production cost of the wind turbines is estimated at 6.1 cents per kWh in Hydro-Québec's latest call for tenders, which is less expensive than the energy produced by the Romaine complex whose costs were estimated at 8.05 cents per kWh… in 2009.

Road construction site to be planned

The Petit Mécatina river flows into the river well beyond route 138 which stops at Kegaska. “To get to the river, it will be necessary to build more than 200 km of roads in a landlocked, rocky and rugged territory. There is no economic profitability, especially if it involves providing discounted electricity to businesses, adds Mr. Bélanger. Before investing millions in a study, shouldn't we first produce a realistic evaluation of the cost of such a project? »

Remember that last February, around a hundred organizations and academics wrote to Prime Minister Legault and to the ministers who are members of the Committee on the Economy and Energy Transition so that the population is invited into the energy debate, by taking the necessary measures. in order to trigger a generic Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) on Quebec's energy future.

“Clean” energy?

The Fondation Rivières reminds us that hydroelectricity, although it is a renewable energy, is not without consequences for local communities and the environment. Flooding land to create reservoirs disrupts aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in addition to contributing to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during construction and the first 20 years of operation.

After the Roman

Next April 20 will be broadcast on Radio-Canada After the Roman, with the participation of Roy Dupuis, co-founder of Fondation Rivières. The documentary highlights the importance of protecting the last wild rivers of Quebec, especially the Magpie River, so that it does not suffer the same fate as the Romaine River, today transformed into a hydroelectric complex.


Picture of Sophie Lachance

Sophie Lachance

Communications and Mobilization Leader
Fondation Rivières
514-272-2666, ext. 307

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