1. Quebec is a land of discovery. This may explain why Quebec is open to change and why we see renewable energy as an opportunity.
Quebec was once one of the most important French overseas colonies, but was taken over by the British Empire during the Seven Years’ War. This was an unfortunate situation for the French monarchy. Quebec offered the early settlers an enormous wealth of mineral resources, agricultural resources and energy sources.
Today, Québec is one of the most important and reliable producers of renewable energy in North America. This puts Québec in a good position to supply energy to Canadian and U.S. customers in the coming years. Large population centers like New York will need more reliable hydropower to meet their own energy needs. New York may be able to combine Québec’s hydropower with the offshore wind energy it draws from wind turbines along the East Coast.
2. Québec is rich in resources. The province already covers a large part of its energy needs with renewable energies. Hydropower plays a key role in this.
Hydropower is an important form of electricity generation in Québec and represents a reliable form of energy production. As such, it forms the basis for tomorrow’s energy economy. Renewable energy is increasingly replacing fossil fuels, which is also the intention of the Québec government. According to the Québec government’s Energy Plan 2030, CO2 emissions must be significantly reduced. For this reason, renewable energies are increasingly being used. This also includes biomass. Indeed, biomass has great potential in Quebec due to a significant forestry industry. Biomass can help meet the heating needs of the population and support the decentralization of energy production. Its share can still be increased in order to achieve Québec’s renewable energy targets.
Quebec may have a strong need to expand its heating sector. This may be particularly relevant given Quebec’s (non-exclusive) reliance on fuel oil as a residential energy source. This sets Quebec apart from Alberta, which has indigenous hydrocarbon reserves, and Alaska. Alaska is capable of meeting its energy needs. This is because Alaska has indigenous oil and natural gas resources, access to the Pacific Ocean, and a low population density.
Quebec’s position in renewable energy production fits well with Canada’s overall goals of increasing the share of renewable energy in primary energy consumption. The exception may be Alberta, which benefits enormously from oil sands. At the same time, oil sands help diversify Canada’s energy system in the event of an energy emergency.
3. Renewable energy can have tremendous benefits for the entire population of Québec.
But that’s not all: the Québec government can further decentralize Québec’s energy supply so that communities far from the Saint Lawrence can also benefit from a new, modern energy supply. This is especially true for the First Nations located in northern Québec. The further north you go, the more difficult it becomes to supply the population with a sufficient amount of electricity and heat. The heating networks are not as developed as in Europe, which is also due to the low population density.
The power grid is not as resilient and does not reach as far, in a province almost as large as Western Europe. We all remember the 1998 blackout when transmission lines failed. This means that maintenance costs in Québec are relatively high, which further drives up electricity prices per KWh. As I said, the good news is that it is relatively cheap to produce electricity through hydroelectric plants.