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Hydro-Quebec and NB Power sign agreements on electricity purchases, expertise sharing

Éric Martel, chief executive officer of Hydro-Quebec, and Gaëtan Thomas, CEO of NB Power, have signed three agreements related to electricity supply, technical collaboration on refurbishment of the 660-MW Mactaquac hydroelectric generating station, and the construction of additional interconnections between the two provinces.

The agreements were signed at the Mactaquac station, near Fredericton in New Brunswick.

Under the first agreement, Hydro-Québec will export 47 TWh of electricity to New Brunswick between now and 2040. These exports will be transmitted over existing interconnections. New Brunswick has had an agreement with Québec on energy imports since 2012, and this will build on that agreement.

For the coming years, Hydro-Québec can count on having more than 40 TWh of energy available annually for sale to adjacent markets.

The second agreement provides for technical collaboration between Hydro-Québec and NB Power for part of the refurbishment of the Mactaquac generating station (pending regulatory approvals), in order to extend its useful life at least until 2068.

Since the 1980s, NB Power has observed that the concrete portions of the generating station and spillway have been affected by a chemical reaction causing the concrete to swell and crack. This reaction, called alkali-aggregate reactivity or AAR, has compromised the useful life of the facility, which has required substantial annual maintenance and repairs.

Hydro-Québec has developed expertise that can help limit the impacts of this problem while ensuring the long-term operability of the affected structures. The company will provide expert advice, handle design aspects and ensure technical supervision of the project.

The third agreement calls for discussions to begin regarding the construction of additional interconnections between Québec and New Brunswick, to increase electricity exports to Atlantic Canada and the U.S. Boosting the transmission capacity between the two grids would not only help reduce GHG emissions in northeast North America by replacing fossil fuels with clean hydropower, but also improve the reliability of both grids.