Quebec minister: Hydro brings energy security, economic development

Quebec’s natural resources minister says hydropower is vital to his province and to Canada as a clean energy source, providing energy security and economic development to Canadians.

Quebec Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife Claude Bechard told the Canadian Hydropower Association Nov. 6 that Quebec intends to continue to be a North American leader in hydropower, working in partnership with its neighbors in Canada and the United States.

Bechard addressed hydro industry leaders from across the country at CHA’s Forum on Hydropower 2007, Nov. 4-7 in Ottawa.

The minister called for collaboration among energy producers across Canada to pursue common objectives of hydropower development, transmission interconnection improvements, and advancement of open access to transmission to allow more efficient exchange of electricity in Canada and the U.S.

“The citizens of Quebec support the development of their hydroelectric resources because they wish that their energy security be assured,” Bechard said. “They also wish that this development will create significant economic repercussions in the area, and since the needs of Quebec are satisfied, that energy supply is exported in order to create wealth for Quebec. This is why we created a portfolio of great hydroelectric projects.”

Bechard said hydropower development in Quebec implies investments of C$25 billion while creating 70,000 person-years of employment over ten years.

“We are entering a time of development unequaled since the second phase of James Bay,” he said. “Thanks to this exceptional effort, our partners, such as Ontario, New England, and New York, will profit from a green and renewable energy.”

CHA emphasized that growing concerns for air quality and climate change have brought a resurgence of new projects across Canada.

“With already over 70,000 MW of clean, renewable hydropower capacity, Canada is blessed with huge undeveloped potential: Over 163,000 MW of technical potential available across all provinces and territories, whether storage or run-of-river or new technologies such as wave and tidal,” CHA President Pierre Fortin said.

CHA Board Chairman Colin Clark told the gathering that the theme of collaboration extends to local communities affected by hydropower development.

“The hydropower industry is committed to engaging local and aboriginal communities in the planning and development of hydropower projects, and to working closely with those communities in fostering the advancement of sustainable hydropower in Canada,” said Clark, who is executive vice president of hydro operator Brookfield Power.

More than 120 individuals participated in the forum. Participating utilities and private developers shared experiences in community consultation and partnerships, hydropower and climate change, new tidal energy technologies, and development in Newfoundland and Labrador, Alberta, and British Columbia.

Details about the forum or CHA can be obtained from the CHA Internet site, www.canhydropower.org.

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