Designer of a Major Technological Breakthrough

Jean-Jacques Archambault (1919-2001)

When Hydro-Québec engineers were debating the technology to be used to transmit the enormous quantities of energy generated at the Manic-Outardes complex, Jean-Jacques Archambault, a young graduate of the École Polytechnique in Montréal, suggested a bold solution: 735-kV transmission lines, something never seen before. Archambault managed to convince his co-workers and Hydro-Québec management that this was the right option. The decision to use 735 kV as the transmission voltage gave rise to a host of technological innovations. Everything—circuit breakers, disconnectors, transformers and other equipment—had to be redesigned to transmit such large amounts of energy with a minimum of loss and noise. Experts from as far afield as Sweden, Germany, France and Italy cooperated in drawing up the plans and constructing the world's first 735-kV line. During the celebration of the 100th anniversary of engineering in Canada in 1987, this feat was recognized as one of the ten most important technological innovations of the 20th century.

Jean-Jacques Archambault