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Hydro-Quebec plans massive spending on energy efficiency, renewables, and infrastructure

November 6, 2023 | By Anthony Capkun

November 6, 2023 – Hydro-Quebec’s “Action Plan 2035: Towards a decarbonized and prosperous Québec” outlines the measures the utility will undertake to reduce GHGs, meet expected growth in electricity demand, and offer customers a reliable, simple and affordable service.

“In the coming years, our Action Plan 2035 will guide us towards the attainment of our goals: to replace fossil fuels by clean electricity, create sustainable prosperity and place customers at the heart of our decisions,” said Michael Sabia, Hydro-Quebec’s president & CEO.

Energy efficiency will play a key role in helping reduce customers’ electricity bills. Hydro-Quebec aims to double energy savings to 21 TWh, or 3500 MW, by 2035. To achieve this, the utility will bolster financial incentives to cover up to 50% of the cost of high-efficiency equipment.

“We will also provide assistance to encourage energy-efficient renovations,” adds Hydro-Quebec.


Based on long-term forecasts, Hydro-Quebec estimates it will need to generate an additional 150 TWh to 200 TWh to meet demand by 2050. To accommodate this growth, the company says, “we will need an additional 60 TWh by 2035, which means adding between 8000 and 9000 MW of capacity”.

To that end, Hydro-Quebec plans to triple windpower generation by integrating more than 10,000 MW of wind capacity into the grid by 2035. In addition, 3800 MW to 4200 MW of new hydropower generation will be added by increasing the capacity of existing generating stations and developing new hydropower facilities, including a pumped-storage facility.

The energy mix will also include solar energy and battery storage, says the company, “and we will consider other technologies currently under development around the world”.

“CanREA is pleased to see that solar and energy storage will play a larger role in Quebec’s energy mix over the coming years and decades,” said Jean Habel, Canadian Renewable Energy Association. “[…] Hydro-Quebec is seizing a window of opportunity offered by the new investment tax credits for renewable energy production that were announced in the 2023 federal budget.”

The investments required to increase its generating capacity and boost the capacity of its grid will range from $90 billion to $110 billion, says the utility, adding that further investments will be needed “to ensure service quality and reliability”.

Hydro-Quebec will increase investments in reliability, from $45 billion to $50 billion by 2035.

“We will first work to stabilize the situation regarding power outages and then go on to reduce their frequency by 35% over the next seven to 10 years,” says the company. “To this end, we will step up vegetation control work, adopt innovative practices like the direct [a.k.a. [light] burial of powerlines, and roll out new equipment, such as composite poles.”

Hydro-Quebec says it will work in collaboration with the province toward economic reconciliation with First Nations and the Inuit, centred on three principles: establish partnerships with Indigenous communities; simplify their access to financing; jointly define the terms of the projects “we will carry out with them”.

Ensuring Indigenous representation in its workforce and decision-making bodies will also be a priority, adds the utility.

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