New grid link to deliver Quebec hydropower to Ontario

Hydro-Quebec TransEnergie of Quebec and Hydro One Networks of Ontario have signed an agreement to build a 1,250-MW transmission link that will carry electricity from Quebec hydroelectric plants into the neighboring province of Ontario.

Quebec’s Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife, Pierre Corbeil, and Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan announced the agreement Nov. 14.

�Quebec has an abundance of hydroelectric power that serves their own needs, and we don’t have that,� Duncan said. �They have a gift of nature, and it’s an enormous opportunity for us.�

Ontario will gain guaranteed access to clean energy sources; Hydro-Quebec generates 96 percent of its electricity from hydropower. Quebec expects the accord will enable it to meet its own energy needs, generate revenue, and take advantage of export opportunities.

The proposed interconnection will allow Hydro-Quebec Production to export surplus energy to Ontario while improving local load reliability by providing access to an additional supply source. The interconnection project is expected to produce investments totaling C$684 million (US$601 million) for Quebec and C$124 million (US$109 million) for Ontario.

The first phase — a 900-MW connection of Quebec with Ontario — is expected to begin service in May 2009. The second phase — the addition of a reinforcement line — will be placed in service in spring 2010, increasing the connection’s capacity to 1,250 MW. The line will be built in Quebec’s Outaouais Region, and run through the Cumberland area on the east side of Ottawa in Ontario.

The agreement does not identify specific projects that will generate surplus electricity for export to Ontario. However, a Hydro-Quebec spokesman said several hydropower projects now under construction will make that surplus electricity available.

In October 2005, the governments of Manitoba and Ontario signed an agreement marking the first step in a joint venture to build hydropower projects in Manitoba and a transmission line capable of delivering at least 1,500 MW to energy-hungry Ontario. Duncan said Ontario is drawing close to an energy-sharing agreement with Manitoba, but he declined to estimate its cost.

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