Although the electricity demand will increase in Québec, Hydro-Québec will continue to have a major surplus of available electricity.
That's what they say in their recently published snapshot of its energy resources entitled Portrait des ressources énergétiques d’Hydro-Québec (currently in French only), which presents the company’s forecasts regarding its future electricity needs and the means by which it will meet them.
Overall, Hydro-Québec can count on over 40 terawatthours (TWh) of available energy annually over the coming years. With this energy, it will be able to power Québec’s economic development while boosting its contribution to the decarbonization of neighboring markets by signing new long-term export contracts. The company’s energy reserves are stored in its 28 large reservoirs, which can accumulate 176 TWh.
Québec energy needs
Hydro-Québec Distribution is today filing the Electricity Supply Plan 2020–2029 (in French only) with the Régie de l’énergie [Québec energy board]. According to forecasts, electricity demand will continue to rise in Québec, driven by a vigorous economy and the development of new markets such as the data center sector. Over the next 10 years, the division expects that energy needs will grow by 13 TWh. Consequently, the unused heritage pool electricity, often referred to as a surplus, will gradually decrease to 0.6 TWh in 2029.
Québec capacity needs
Hydro-Québec Distribution must also take into account its capacity needs, i.e., the quantity of electricity required to meet exceptional demand, particularly during peak consumption periods. Peaks occur in the morning and evening during cold snaps in winter, mainly because more than 80% of Québec homes are heated with electricity. Capacity needs will continue to grow over the coming years, and an increase of 3,200 MW is anticipated by 2029.
No additional supplies required in the immediate future
Thanks to the implementation of various strategies, Hydro-Québec Distribution’s current and planned electricity supplies will be sufficient to meet energy needs until 2026, and capacity needs until 2025. No new supplies will therefore be required in the short term. On a horizon of three to five years, however, calls for tenders could be launched if demand increases as expected.
Criteria for the next call for tenders will be submitted to the Régie de l’énergie to ensure that the bid selection process is transparent and equitable. Hydro-Québec Production could participate by offering some of the energy at its disposal. Wind farm owners whose supply contracts will expire during the Plan period could also submit bids.
The importance of energy efficiency
Hydro-Québec will also prioritize the development of energy efficiency measures for all customer categories. In particular, Hydro-Québec Distribution will rely on demand response programs to reduce electricity use during peak periods. In this connection, Hilo, the Hydro-Québec subsidiary launched this fall, will offer a new range of products and services starting in 2020.
Dynamic pricing, which will be deployed progressively as of winter 2019–2020, will also help lower peak requirements by rewarding customers who spread out their electricity use.
Leveraging our available energy
Hydro-Québec will also continue to commercialize its available energy to create wealth in Québec. Some of this electricity is already being sold on short-term export markets. In addition, available resources will support the implementation of the Electrification and Climate Change Plan 2030 (ECCP 2030), launched by the Québec government. Moreover, Hydro-Québec will pursue its efforts to attract new customers in high-potential markets for the Québec economy, such as data centers and greenhouses, and could take advantage of the development of a local green hydrogen industry.