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Hydro-Québec's 2035 action plan: moratorium requested on the granting of electricity for industrial development

Pylône_casey-horner_unsplash_Plan d’action 2035 d'Hydro-Québec : moratoire demandé sur l’octroi d’électricité pour le développement industriel

PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Montreal, November 9, 2023 – A group of more than 20 civil society organizations welcomes with concern the 2035 Action Plan presented last week by the CEO of Hydro-Québec, Michael Sabia, and asks the Legault government to immediately stop all granting of new energy blocks to industrial projects until Quebec has adopted a policy credible, coherent energy and supported by the population. These environmental organizations and ecological citizens believe that the massive development plan for energy infrastructure submitted by Hydro-Québec obviously aims to meet the expectations of the government, which prioritizes the industry, ignoring ecological issues as well as major constraints of time, labor and social acceptability which make its realization more than uncertain.

“By guaranteeing energy-intensive companies electrical capacities that do not exist and that it is probably neither wise nor realistic to attempt to build, while failing to seriously invest in reducing energy demands, the Government of Quebec risks itself creating an electricity shortage which will irremediably compromise the decarbonization of Quebec in a timely manner. This is why we are calling for an immediate moratorium on the granting of electricity for new industrial projects,” declare the signatories of the press release.

A pharaonic project to increase supply without structuring sobriety measures

“Even if it aims to double the energy savings already planned, mainly through efficiency measures, Hydro-Québec's 2035 Plan is part of the vision of an energy transition free from structuring measures of sobriety and “first and foremost, we are focusing on a huge project to increase energy supply,” say the groups. This plan provides, over 12 years, for the addition of 60 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy and 8,000 to 9,000 megawatts (MW) of power, the equivalent of the combined power of the Robert-Bourassa development ( LG-2), the Manic-5 power plant and the Romaine complex. These facilities would require investments of $155 to $185 billion, the construction of 5,000 km of transmission lines and the contribution of approximately 35,000 workers on average each year by 2035.

In a global context where the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis feed each other, the decision to build vast hydroelectric complexes in the boreal and northern environments would have serious environmental consequences. In addition, the groups doubt that the harnessing of new rivers benefits from social acceptability and emphasize that projects on indigenous territories should involve the communities affected by the projects. They also observe that several wind farm projects are causing outcry, particularly in the agricultural world. Finally, the plan envisages the Gentilly-2 site to accommodate a nuclear power plant or small modular reactors, while this sector is strongly rejected by the population of Quebec.

A Plan that seriously underestimates the transformations necessary for the decarbonization of Quebec

The International Energy Agency estimates that “developed economies” like Quebec must reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 80 % by 2035. The Legault government and Hydro-Québec seriously underestimate the extent of the electricity needs required to decarbonize Quebec's economy by 2035. Worse still, they intend to devote 25% of the additional electricity planned, or at least 2000 MW, for economic growth without being able to demonstrate that the electricity necessary for decarbonization will be available. The groups deplore that the Plan allocates currently non-existent energy blocks to future industries that will want to benefit from low-cost clean electricity and thus maintains the illusion that Quebec could both accommodate strong energy-intensive industrial development, decarbonize and do without the systemic transformations essential to achieve energy sobriety. Due to the climate crisis, decarbonization must take priority over industrial development.

Who will pay the bill?

The costs of new supplies will be significantly higher than current costs, creating upward pressure on tariffs, while the government persists in wanting to attract industrial projects by offering them attractive prices (tariff L or even lower tariff). . The groups fear that it is the most economically fragile people, who do not have the means to benefit from subsidies for renovation or the purchase of energy-efficient equipment, and middle-class households who will suffer since the sector residential will most likely, sooner or later, absorb part of Hydro-Québec's shortfall. This upward pressure on prices could serve as a pretext for the deregulation and denationalization of electricity.

Need for adequate planning which would result from a societal debate

The signatories emphasize that the submission of a plan by Hydro-Québec cannot exempt us from the democratic processes required by such important societal choices. The economic, ecological and social shortcomings of this plan confirm the need for adequate planning which would result from a social dialogue approach. They demand that the government of Quebec put in place a moratorium on the granting of additional power for industrial projects of more than 5 MW until a frank, broad and structured societal debate on the energy future. of Quebec has been carried out. This debate must lead to an energy policy and a real integrated planning of energy resources (PIRE), according to a systemic approach including in particular the environmental and social impacts on the entire life cycle of the different energy solutions, and this, above all modification to the regulatory framework in force.

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For more information or to obtain interviews with the signatories of the press release, please contact:

Melanie Busby
Responsible for community life
Common front for the energy transition
(514) 233-8941

 


 

Signatories (in alphabetical order of organization):

  • Émilie Laurin-Dansereau, ACEF of North Montreal
  • Lucie Massé, Action Environnement Bassees-Laurentides
  • David Roy, Workshops for biodiversity
  • Jean-François Boisvert, Montreal Climate Coalition
  • Jean-Philippe Waaub, Scientific collective on energy issues in Quebec
  • Rébecca Pétrin, Eau Secours
  • Pascal Bergeron, Green Environment Plus
  • Éric Ferland, Écosphere Fair
  • Jean Paradis, Fondation Coule pas chez nous
  • Stéphanie Harnois, David Suzuki Foundation
  • André Bélanger, Fondation Rivières
  • Patrick Bonin, Greenpeace Canada
  • Jacques Benoit, GMob (GroupMobilization)
  • Myriam Thériault, Mothers at the front
  • Jacques Lebleu, Ahuntsic-Cartierville Environmental Mobilization (MEAC)
  • Carole Dupuis, UNEplanète eco-citizen movement
  • Alice-Anne Simard, Nature Quebec
  • Jean-Pierre Finet, Grouping of environmental energy organizations (ROEÉ)
  • Bruno Detuncq, Quebec Hydrocarbon Vigilance Group (RVHQ)
  • Maude Prud'homme, Quebec Network of Environmental Groups (RQGE)
  • Sylvie Berthiaume, Sutton Environmental Solidarity
  • Ève Duhaime, TerraVie
  • Krystel Marylène Papineau, Coalition Let’s get out of the Carbon Fund

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