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Inauguration of the La Romaine hydroelectric complex: nothing to be proud of

Après la Romaine - Crédit : Rapide Blanc - Complexe hydroélectrique la Romaine


Montreal, October 12, 2023 – Fondation Rivières judges that the La Romaine hydroelectric complex, whose official inauguration took place this morning, is a very bad example of use of public funds. It costs a minimum of 8.05¢ to produce a kilowatt hour (kWh) in La Romaine, while this energy will be sold to large industries at a preferential rate of around 5.26¢/kWh, a deadweight loss which will be assumed by the future generations.

If the two phases of the new Northvolt battery factory are realized, they would have an annual consumption of 2.68 TWh or approximately 30 % of La Romaine's production, according to calculations by the independent energy sector analyst, Jean-François Blain. If the 8 TWh produced annually by La Romaine were to be sold at a discount to attract all the large energy-intensive companies courted by the Legault government, this would represent a net loss of 208 M$ per year.

“The La Romaine complex was built at a time when interest rates were around 1 %. The same complex today would cost us much more. We are destroying our last wild rivers to make Quebec the Dollarama of energy when there are cheaper and less damaging alternatives. It’s frankly worrying,” laments André Bélanger, general director.

“Clean” energy?

The Fondation Rivières recalls that hydroelectricity, although it is a renewable energy, is not without consequences for local communities and theenvironment. 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.

Hydro-Québec is currently conducting a study on the hydroelectric potential of the Petit Mécatina river, which was opposed by the chief of Unamen Shipu. This could suffer the same fate as the Romaine River.

A power station on the Petit Mécatina river would amount to flooding the equivalent of half of the Island of Montreal, or more than 200 km2, and to artificializing one of the last large wild rivers in Quebec while we have not even started serious steps to save money. energy. » – André Bélanger, general director of Fondation Rivières

“If we have to lose our natural heritage for a few dollars, it is high time to redefine what it means to be rich. After all, what is real wealth? » – Roy Dupuis, co-founder and spokesperson of Fondation Rivières

The president of the Foundation rewarded for his contribution to the protection of rivers

Ironically, the co-founder and president of Fondation Rivières, Alain Saladzius, was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Assembly of Governors of the University of Quebec at the time of the inauguration of La Romaine this morning. Mr. Saladzius is rewarded for the implementation of the organization as well as for his exceptional contribution to the protection and development of Quebec rivers.

Mr. Saladzius co-founded the Foundation with Roy Dupuis, who participated in the documentaries Seek the Current (2010) and After the Roman (2023). The latter 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.

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Sophie Lachance

Sophie Lachance

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

Main photo credit: Les Productions du Rapide-Blanc

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