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Data & Statistics

Québec: Power Generation, Installed Capacity and Exports [free access]

July 15, 2019

The province of Québec in Canada, with its abundant water supply, relies primarily on power generation from hydroelectric power plants. At the end of 2018, 213,862 GWh of electricity was generated in the province. Of this, 201,007 GWh or 94 per cent was accounted for by hydro sources. Despite hydro being a dominant source of power generation in Québec, the province is making significant additions from wind sources, a relatively young venture in Québec.

 

During the five-year period spanning 2014-18, the share of wind generation increased significantly from a mere 0.3 per cent in 2014 to 5 per cent in 2018. However, solar power is still in the experimental stages in the Canadian province.

 

Power generation in Québec is dominated by the government-owned vertically integrated utility Hydro-Québec. Meanwhile, independent power producers (IPPs) operate several smaller hydroelectric plants as well as all the biomass and wind facilities. Moreover, under an agreement with the Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited [CF(L)Co], Hydro-Québec also receives the majority of the electricity produced by the latter.

 

Table 1: Total electricity produced in Québec (GWh)

 

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Hydro

   199,723

       197,668

       198,056

       202,001

       201,007

Combustible fuels1

       1,182

           1,233

           2,311

            2,526

           2,212

Wind

           657

               773

            9,764

           9,847

          10,641

Solar

                -  

                    -  

                    1

                    1

                    2

Total

   201,561

      199,673

       210,132

       214,375

       213,862

Annual growth rate (%)

 -

                 (1)

                    5

                    2

                 (0)

Note: 1–Combustible fuels include power generated from conventional steam turbine, internal combustion turbine and combustion turbine. Prior to 2016, total combustible fuels has been estimated based on aggregate of individual power production available from  each conventional steam turbine, internal combustion turbine and combustion turbine,  provided by Statistique Canada.

Data prior to 2015 cannot be compared with the current data, as a large number of renewable energy companies engaged in solar, wind, hydro and other renewable technologies were added to the survey's overall target population thereby increasing the number of establishments.

Source: Statistique Canada; Global Transmission Research

 

During 2014-17, effective installed capacity in Québec grew at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 1 per cent, increasing from 45,482 MW in 2014 to 46,868 MW in 2017. During 2017, of the total installed capacity, the majority, or about 86 per cent, was hydro-based; 7 per cent was wind-based; while thermal and other combustible fuels accounted for a 3 per cent share each. 

 

Figure 1: Share of Québec’s installed electricity capacity, 2017 (MW)


Note: The capacity is measured at the output terminals of all generating units in a station and is inclusive of station service requirements.

Source: Statistique Canada; Global Transmission Research

 

Québec also undertakes significant interprovincial as well as cross-border power trades. During 2014-18, cross-border power exports to US states reported a CAGR of 3.5 per cent, increasing from 23,591 GWh in 2014 to 27,022 GWh in 2018.  The US states of New York and Vermont account for around 81 per cent of Québec’s electricity exports. Between 2014 and 2018, Québec’s exports to Maine increased by 12 per cent from 2,293 GWh in 2014 to 3,643 GWh in 2018.  In 2018, the province also exported power to Michigan and New Jersey.

 

Figure 2: Trends in Québec’s power exports to US (GWh)

Note: Québec’s power imports are minimal. Data is aggregated based on exports to Maine, Michigan, New England-ISO, New York, Vermont, Minnesota and New Jersey.   

Source: Statistique Canada; Global Transmission Research