Quebec Environment & energy

Written by  //  February 21, 2024  //  Environment & Energy, Québec  //  No comments

2030 Plan for a Green Economy
The 2030 Plan for a Green Economy guides the government’s action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change over the course of this decade.
Thanks to its clean and renewable energy This hyperlink will open in a new window., Québec has a low per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emission rate and is a global leader in the green economy. To remain among the best, we need to pursue climate actions to further reduce Québec’s GHG emissions while at the same time transforming society and the economy. It is by fighting climate change that we will succeed in building a green and prosperous Québec.
Ministère de l’Environnement, de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques, de la Faune et des Parcs
The Advisory Committee on Climate Change is a standing independent body created under the Act mainly to ensure effective governance of the fight against climate change and to promote electrification.
The Government of Canada and Ducks Unlimited Canada invest $1.5 million for wetland conservation in Quebec (November 2020)

21 February
Premier Legault on defensive about Northvolt project
(CTV) Premier François Legault displayed a banana, an orange and an apple on Wednesday to justify a more lenient scientific analysis of the Northvolt battery plant project in Montérégie.
He was reacting to a Radio-Canada report revealing that scientific justifications had disappeared in the Ministry of the Environment’s analysis of this controversial project.
The official Liberal opposition considers that these alterations have all the appearance of a “political order” and even evokes a “falsification of documents.”
The Parti Québécois is asking the Auditor General to look into the matter, while Québec solidaire (QS) wants to hear from the head of Northvolt.
Radio-Canada’s report reveals that the scientific references used a few months earlier in an analysis to reject a real estate project on the same site disappeared in the analysis that approved the Northvolt project.

29 January
Northvolt détruira des milieux naturels de «haute valeur écologique», selon les experts du gouvernement Legault
(Le Devoir) Le feu vert au projet Northvolt risque d’avoir des impacts « majeurs » pour la faune, puisque la disparition de milieux naturels de « haute valeur écologique » provoquera la perte irréversible d’habitats pour plusieurs espèces, notamment des espèces menacées. C’est ce qui se dégage des rapports des experts du gouvernement Legault produits dans le cadre de l’analyse du projet et obtenus par Le Devoir.

25-26 January
Environmental group loses bid to stop Northvolt work in Quebec
Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel
(Globe & Mail) The Superior Court of Quebec has rejected a petition from a Quebec-based environmental group that sought to stop work at the site of Swedish battery maker Northvolt AB’s planned $7-billion plant near Montreal.
… While the application for a temporary injunction was rejected, the Quebec Environmental Law Centre’s lawsuit challenging the permits will continue.
Environmental group challenges Quebec Northvolt project authorizations
Frédérik-Xavier Duhamel
(Globe & Mail) A Quebec environmental group argued in court that work on Swedish manufacturer Northvolt’s future electric vehicle battery plant was allowed to begin without proper analysis of the impact on the area’s biodiversity. Lawyers for the Quebec Environmental Law Centre (CQDE) argued in court Wednesday that approvals given by the Quebec Minister of the Environment and the municipality of Saint-Basile-le-Grand to destroy wetlands and cut trees on the site were unreasonable and illegal.
Separately, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawà:ke, a First Nation community on the south shore of Montreal, announced Tuesday that it filed a lawsuit to “demand orders requiring the provincial and federal governments to engage in consultation” regarding the project. The council said in a news release that “Quebec and Canada have breached the duty to consult” when funding the project and authorizing the destruction of wetlands.

21 January
Western Quebec township backs ‘resistance’ to mineral exploration on its land
The Township of Low in western Quebec is taking steps to prevent mineral exploration on its lands amid a big increase in recent claims in the Outaouais.
In Quebec as in other jurisdictions, the province owns the subsurface and controls exploration rights to it, even beneath private property.
For less than $75, anyone can stake a claim, typically 50 hectares in area, using an online registry administered by Quebec’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forests.
Once a claim has been staked, the holder has exclusive exploration rights there for three years, with an option to renew.

19 January
Construction of Northvolt’s Quebec EV battery plant halted until Jan. 23
Environmental group worried about damage to wetlands if construction allowed to go ahead
Northvolt, a Swedish company and a giant in the field of electric vehicle batteries, has earmarked land near the Richelieu River in Saint-Basile-le-Grand east of Montreal, to build a massive, multibillion-dollar EV battery plant. Work halted in January pending the outcome of a court injunction request by an environmental group.
As part of the construction work, Northvolt began felling trees at the site earlier this week, after getting the green light from Quebec’s Environment Ministry.
Environmental groups have raised concerns about the damage the construction would cause to wetlands in that area.

10 January
Déclaration de Désirée McGraw, porte-parole de l’opposition officielle en matière d’environnement et de lutte contre les changements climatiques et députée de Notre-Dame-de-Grâce
Northvolt autorisée à raser les milieux naturels
« Depuis l’annonce concernant Northvolt au Québec, nous sommes catégoriques : l’ensemble du projet doit inévitablement être soumis à un BAPE avant sa mise en chantier. La CAQ a contourné les règles pour en exempter l’entreprise bien que 74 milieux humides sur le site soient touchés ainsi que plusieurs espèces mises en péril. C’est une aberration et il faut la dénoncer. Comme pour les changements climatiques, on ne peut pas se vanter d’être un chef de file en matière de biodiversité sans faire le vrai travail pour protéger la nature. Le traitement spécial accordé à Northvolt par le gouvernement Legault crée un très mauvais précédent pour la nouvelle filière batterie, au Québec. L’approche de la CAQ mine cette industrie qui devrait être un net positif et stratégique pour le Québec. Accorder des fonds publics à quelque entreprise sans en exiger le respect des règlementations publiques de base en matière d’environnement est inacceptable. Encore une fois, le manque de considération notoire de la CAQ envers les enjeux environnementaux est très préoccupant dans ce dossier.

2023

28 September
EV battery giant Northvolt to build multibillion-dollar plant in Quebec
Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturing giant, says it will build a new multibillion-dollar electric vehicle battery plant east of Montreal. Quebec leaders are calling it the largest private investment in the province’s history — along with billions in public funding — but others say it carries no guarantees it will pay off for taxpayers.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault were in Montreal Thursday morning alongside other ministers and Northvolt executives for the announcement.
The first phase of the project, valued at $7 billion in total investment, will have an annual battery cell manufacturing capacity of up to 30 GWh. It will also create up to 3,000 jobs in the region as the plant reaches its full production potential.

6 July
Electrical engineer in Montreal has a solar answer to hydro bill
(CTV) A man from Montreal’s Saint-Laurent borough believes he has a solution to hydro consumption from air conditioners, fans and heat pumps after creating a hybrid solar system that he says cuts energy use.
“The solar panel cable goes up and all around and goes to the solar panels on the roof where the electrical one, it goes in the house, and it connects to your normal electrical distribution panel,” he said.
Power outage affects nearly 200,000 Hydro-Quebec clients in Montreal
On the Island of Montreal, more than 198,000 customers are affected by 169 different outages. Another 17,500 clients are affected in Montérégie.
The West Island is said to be the hardest hit by the 170 or so separate outages affecting the region.
The outages come on a day many Montrealers are using air conditioning and fans to keep cool: temperatures in Montreal are reaching 33 C, which will feel like 40 C with the humidity.

4 July
Allison Hanes: It’s up to environment minister to save precious wetlands
Benoit Charette may be the last hope for Hudson’s Sandy Beach after the Quebec Court of Appeal nullified his ministry’s attempt to cancel development permits.
Quebec’s highest court last month invalidated the Environment Ministry’s cancellation of a developer’s permit to backfill the wetlands and build more than 200 housing units overlooking Sandy Beach. This is the second time the ministry has lost in court after attempting to revoke its permission on the grounds that a) the wetlands have been found to be more extensive than originally thought and b) environmental laws have changed since it was issued, giving developers two years to conduct the work before the authorization expires.
The initial permit was granted in 2014 — almost a decade ago. And the law changed in 2017, in keeping with growing awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity as part of the fight against climate change.
But Nicanco Holdings, which is planning the Sandy Beach project, challenged the ministry’s decision in court. The company teamed up with two other developers that had their permission to conduct work in wetlands in St-Hyacinthe and Laval quashed for the same reasons.
Their victory in Quebec Superior Court and now the Quebec Court of Appeal exposes both the dire consequences of past planning mistakes and the toothlessness of the 2017 update of the environmental protection legislation.

19 May
Quebec to spend $9 billion on green economy plan
Among the measures is more than $500 million to build charging stations and bring the number of electric vehicles on roads to 2 million.
The Quebec government intends to spend $514 million on a “recharge strategy” aimed at the growing number of electric vehicles in the province.
The Quebec government has now mapped out how it will achieve 60 per cent of its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, Premier François Legault said Friday as he announced an updated green economy plan.

5 May
Quebec invests $2.7M into electric vehicle tech for apartments and condos
(CTV) The Quebec government is granting $2.7 million to a project that will make it easier to charge electric vehicles (EVs) in apartments and condos.
Tech companies Recharge Véhicule Électrique (RVE) and Dimonoff, both based in Quebec, are developing software to power charging stations in a way that minimizes strain on the electrical network.
As it stands, most multi-unit buildings in Quebec can’t handle charging multiple EVs at once. The new tech would distribute power throughout the night rather than charging vehicles during peak hours.
“[This] will increase the accessibility of recharging to nearly 40 per cent of the Quebec population, i.e. those living in multi-unit buildings,” said RVE president David Corbeil in a press release.

15 April
Power’s back but questions remain. What can we learn from the Quebec ice storm for next time?
The ice storm that paralyzed Quebec and shut off power to much of the province earlier this month has now, officially, ended. The last customers affected by the storm were reconnected to the grid this week, Hydro-Québec said.
How is it possible in 2023 to have a distribution network that is this fragile?
Quebec’s auditor general raised some concerns about the state of Hydro-Québec’s network in a report [Power outages longer, more frequent as Hydro-Québec confronts aging infrastructure] in December.
The report flagged that outages were becoming more frequent in Quebec and were lasting longer in part because of the utility’s aging equipment, but also because Hydro-Québec had fallen behind on trimming back vegetation near wires.

2 February
First green hydrogen-powered passenger train in North America coming to Quebec
In a North American first, a passenger train powered by green hydrogen will be given a dry run this summer on a tourism rail line linking Quebec City to the east.
The Quebec government will invest $3 million into an $8-million pilot project showcasing the Alstom-built Coradia iLint train. It will be put into service for three or four months this summer on the hugely popular Chemin de fer Charlevoix tourist train line, Premier François Legault announced Thursday at a news conference.
Hydrogen is not used to directly propel the train. Instead the hydrogen is fed into a fuel cell that produces electric energy. For this experiment, the Quebec firm Harnois Énergies will produce and transport the needed hydrogen.
It is designed specifically for non-electrified trail lines and is quieter than a conventional train. The Chemin de fer Charlevoix runs a total of 148 kms, making stops in eight communities.
The announcement follows a week at the legislature where Quebec’s energy future has been front and centre. …
Following the premier’s comments last week that Quebec will need four or five new dams to meet future power demands, Hydro-Québec revealed that in order to meet the needs of all future potential investment, that number would have to be much higher: about 23,000 megawatts.
Economy and Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon has said that number is not realistic and has revised the number down to 10,000 megawatts of additional electricity.
But it’s clear the government is ready to dabble in many options — including green hydrogen — to reach its goals of producing more power, stimulating investment at the same time as favouring companies producing limited greenhouse gas emissions.
L’hydrogène vert approvisionnera le tiers du transport lourd, croit Pierre Fitzgibbon
(Le Devoir) Le tiers du secteur des transports lourds devra être approvisionné par de l’hydrogène vert pour que la transition énergétique soit complète, a déclaré le ministre de l’Économie et de l’Énergie, Pierre Fitzgibbon, quelques jours après avoir tiré un trait sur la majorité des projets qui visent à développer ce nouveau carburant au Québec.
En conférence de presse, le ministre a affirmé qu’il ne savait « pas réellement » quelle sera la proportion d’hydrogène vert nécessaire pour que le Québec atteigne l’objectif de neutraliser les émissions de gaz à effet de serre (GES) d’ici 2050, comme convenu dans le cadre d’accords internationaux sur les changements climatiques. « Il est clair pour nous que l’hydrogène va jouer un rôle dans les transports, a-t-il dit.

27 January
Power-hungry Quebec will soon need more hydro dams, Legault says
“We are able to build dams before 2041,” premier says, but won’t divulge which four or five rivers are being targeted by the government.
Premier François Legault said Friday that Quebec will need to build four or five new dams to meet future power demands, but won’t say which rivers are being targeted to avoid panicking any communities.

20 January
Robert Libman: Cheap power, but at what expense to Quebecers?
The government’s vision for Hydro-Québec should be a matter of public debate, as should how profits are earmarked
[Its] economic-development role has occasionally generated controversy over the years. …
The strategy of selling off our energy, often at discount rates, gobbles up a considerable part of the energy grid, meaning that more energy must be produced to satisfy domestic needs, which leads to more dams, diversion of rivers, flooding and other environmental concerns. In today’s digital economy, some of the most voracious energy-eaters are industrial warehouses filled with servers for crypto-currency production, online gambling or data centres, which provide minimal job creation. That is presumably what Brochu was referring to when she quipped that Quebec shouldn’t become “the Dollarama of electricity.”
Premier François Legault talks about building more dams to meet a growing demand for Quebec’s clean energy. He may be right in using Hydro-Quebec as a cash cow; Quebec desperately needs its billions in profits. But consumers are frustrated, often blindsided by power outages and hit with annual rate hikes.

10 January
CEO’s exit raises questions about Hydro-Québec’s independence: experts
Sophie Brochu had cast doubt on the wisdom of the CAQ government’s desire to lure new power-hungry industrial users to the province.
Sophie Brochu’s surprise resignation from her post as Hydro-Québec chief executive raises questions about the utility’s independence from the government, industry experts and opposition politicians say.
News of Brochu’s departure comes about three months after the executive cast doubt on the wisdom of the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s desire to lure new power-hungry industrial users to the province, saying she would resist attempts to transform the state-owned utility into a “dollar store” of electricity.
“We’re in shock. It’s very disappointing,” Nicolas Cloutier, head of the professional union of Hydro-Québec engineers known by its French acronym, SPIHQ, said in an interview. With Côté, the Hydro-Québec chair, scheduled to leave in May, “there will be a leadership void.”
In October, SPIHQ issued a press release to back Brochu and criticize the government for wanting to intervene in the company’s energy transition strategy.

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