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Bill 69: What will the role of independent producers be, asks MEI

  • The production ceiling for independent dams will be increased to 100 megawatts.

Montreal, June 6, 2024 – The missing element from Bill 69 on Quebec’s energy future, tabled this morning by Quebec Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, is the sale of electricity by independent producers to a large number of clients, notes a researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute.

“For months, Fitzgibbon has hinted that a real conversation will be had regarding Quebec’s energy capacity and the role of independent producers,” said Gabriel Giguère, senior public policy analyst at the MEI. “This bill includes provisions on tariffs, windfarms, and even gasoline, but nothing about allowing independent producers to make direct electricity sales to a large number of clients.”

In its Bill, the government will allow renewable energy producers to sell electricity to a single consumer next to their production facilities.

Last January, Minister Fitzgibbon told Radio-Canada: “For the [Purchasing Power Agreements], the minister has already indicated publicly on several occasions his openness to the idea of allowing private agreements between private producers and large consumers.”

An MEI-Ipsos poll taken last summer found that 62 per cent of Quebecers support allowing independent electricity producers to sell their energy directly to companies.

Industrial development projects requiring over 21,000 megawatts of electricity have already been rejected by the Ministry of Energy, due to Hydro-Québec’s lack of generating capacity.

Last July, the MEI recommended that the government untie the hands of independent producers in order to meet industrial demand. Removing the production ceiling for independent dams was also recommended by the MEI.

In this bill, the government aims to increase the production ceiling for independent dams from 50 megawatts to 100 megawatts.

“Increasing the production ceiling for independent dams represents a step in the right direction,” said Giguère. “This will allow new projects to see the light of day and will ensure we will waste less potential on harnessed rivers.”

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policy-makers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.

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