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REACTION: Hydro-Québec cannot afford to do without the expertise of independent producers

Montreal, May 30, 2024 – Hydro-Québec’s decision to produce wind power itself may prove very costly for Quebecers, says a Montreal Economic Institute researcher.

“Quebecers are paying a hefty price for Hydro-Québec’s demand planning mistakes,” says Gabriel Giguère, public policy analyst at the MEI. “In order to stop refusing economic development projects, independent producers must be allowed to play a bigger role.”

Of 21 industrial development projects examined by the Quebec government last year, only 11 could be approved, due to Hydro-Québec’s lack of capacity.

As part of its 2035 Action Plan, the Crown corporation projects it will make capital expenditures of over $155 billion for its network. That’s the equivalent of $17,251 per Quebecer.

In the plan, the crown corporation indicates that it expects to spend over $90 billion to increase its production capacity by up to 9,000 megawatts.

Hydro-Québec announced today that it was monopolizing the development of wind farms of over 1,000 megawatts.

As part of the plan it unveiled today, Hydro-Québec also says it will participate in the analysis of self-generation projects in the context of the Energy Department’s approval process.

“Self-generation is one of the only ways our companies have of ensuring that their energy needs are met despite Hydro-Québec’s projection mistakes,” explains Mr. Giguère. “Hydro-Québec does not pay for the development, transport, or production of self-generated electricity, and so should not have a seat at the table when these projects are evaluated.”

Last July, the MEI recommended that the government untie the hands of independent producers in order to meet industrial demand.

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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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