Hydro-Québec is reviving a hydroelectric power plant project on the Petit Mécatina River, located on the north shore. The state institution is studying its potential and will soon meet with communities to assess its social acceptability.
“These are in-depth studies that they will do, Hydro-Québec. It is too early to conclude, but they considered it a book that could be meaningful,” Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon commented yesterday.
In 2009, Hydro-Québec estimated the river’s potential at 1,200 MW (or 5.5 TWh). However, this is a “theoretical potential”, as the state company specifies, emphasizing that the costs of building the plant will also factor into the balance.
For Pierre Fitzgibbon, Petit Mécatina represents the project that can be realized faster, that is, within twelve years.
Innu communities also seem open to participating in building such a structure, as partners, according to the province of Quebec.
Only the project is under consideration
Hydro-Québec stated in its press release that this is the only dam project under consideration. Such a scenario has not been envisioned in other rivers whose potential is already known, such as the Grande Rivière de la Paline, the Nottouay River, and the Magee River.
The assessment of Petit Mécatina’s potential is part of a larger plan to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in Quebec, modernizing existing hydroelectric plants and adding wind farms.
Thus, the state-owned company seeks to release 100 TWh in order to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. Prime Minister François Legault also announced, during the election campaign, his intention to harness the new rivers: until now, the puzzle remains the same, but where the chosen.
I asked for a consultation
Shortly after the announcement, interim Liberal Party leader Marc Tanguay reiterated his request for broad consultations on Quebec’s energy future.
“There is no clear direction for our energy future in Quebec. CAQ pulls in all directions: dams, no dam, wind, energy efficiency, etc. And now, a study on the Petit Mécatina River,” he quipped.
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