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Inauguration of the hydroelectric power station in Val-Jalbert: a ghost waterfall is born

Inauguration de la centrale hydroélectrique de Val-Jalbert

Today, Premier Couillard will inaugurate the hydroelectric power station on the historic site of Val-Jalbert.

Opposition to the project to build the hydroelectric power station on the historic site of Val-Jalbert has always been in the majority among the regional population according to all independent surveys carried out in the region during the project. The citizens who mobilized also obtained the support of numerous environmental groups. After the Fondation Rivières, Nature Québec and Greenpeace Québec, the voices multiplied and around twenty national organizations co-signed the letter “ For compliance with the National Water Policy » addressed to the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Environment at the time, asking for respect for the principles of sound water management. All of these groups represent more than 150,000 members and supporters, and 500 federated organizations.

The population can today see the result which gave birth to a phantom fall, dried up 79 % of time. Its flow will now effectively be reduced to 2.5 % of its average natural flow. The development potential of the places based on this major tourist attraction is now compromised. The “modern-looking” building denounced by the Ministry of Culture and Communications will in no way help this situation.

Inauguration de la centrale hydroélectrique de Val-Jalbert
The Val-Jalbert hydroelectric power station, in May 2015.

This devastation will also cost Hydro-Québec very dearly: losses of more than 80 M$ over 20 years, or 4 M$ of annual losses which will have to be paid by Hydro-Québec customers. The denunciation of this economic aspect even brought together François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec and Amir Khadir of Québec Solidaire in a historic press conference. The price paid by Hydro-Québec will increase from 8.3 ¢/kWh in 2015 to 13.6 ¢/kWh in 2034, plus transportation, distribution and storage costs estimated at 4.0 ¢/kWh, for a cost total from 12.3 to 17.6¢/kWh… while the export sales price is currently only around 5¢/kWh. The Commission on Energy Issues in Quebec has also confirmed the existence of electricity surplus until 2027 and recommended stopping any new project to increase electricity production capacity.

Photos: Lac-Saint-Jean Community Energy Corporation

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