Soon after it was first established in 1944, Hydro–Québec needed to significantly develop its generating capability to meet growing electricity demand. It embarked on an extensive building phase and reached agreements to acquire independent power distributors.
Its new hydropower projects of the 1950s and 1960s all required major financing.
In the early 1970s, when construction in the Baie‑James region got under way, Hydro–Québec’s name was already well established on the leading financial markets . Funds markets in the Middle East , private markets in Japan and the Netherlands , the British public market and the ECU (European Currency Unit) section of the European markets then joined the list of buyers of Hydro–Québec securities.
From 1979 to 1981, Hydro–Québec was the fourth-largest borrower on the U.S. public bond market. The company’s borrowing program reached a high point in 1991, with requirements totalling $5.9 billion.
Key achievements and major debt issuance*
Creation of the Québec Hydro‑Electric Commission, in short, Hydro‑Québec.
Commissioning of Les Cèdres (1924; 103 MW), Shawinigan‑2 (1929; 200 MW), La Gabelle (1931; 131 MW) and Chelsea (1939; 152 MW) generating stations.
Commissioning of Bersimis‑1 (1,178 MW) generating station.
Commissioning of Beaumont (270 MW) generating station.
Commissioning of the first 735‑kV transmission line in the world, a technology developed by Hydro‑Québec.
Commissioning of McCormick (235 MW) generating station.
Founding of Hydro‑Québec’s Institut de recherche en électricité (IREQ), a world-class research centre.
Commissioning of Jean-Lesage (Manic‑2, 1,145 MW) and Manic‑1 (184 MW) generating stations.
First issue in U.S. dollars on the European market for an amount of US$20 million. US$500-million issue to finance Churchill Falls generating station.
First bond issue in German marks for an amount of 150 million.
Launch of the La Grande Complex at James Bay, the most imposing hydroelectric facility in the world at the time.
Commissioning of Manic‑5 (1,596 MW) generating station.
Hydro‑Québec’s equity crosses the C$1,0 billion mark.
Commissioning of Première‑Chute (131 MW) generating station.
Creation of Hydro‑Québec International (HQI) with a mandate to market Hydro‑Québec’s expertise internationally.
Commissioning of a 765-kV interconnection linking Hydro‑Québec’s power grid with the Power Authority of the State of New York (PASNY); the two parties reached a mutual aid agreement.
Signature of a firm long-term power and energy sale contract with the Vermont Joint Owners (VJO), spanning from 1990 to 2020.
Launch of Hydro‑Québec’s first two global issues for an amount of $1.1 billion each.
1996 - to date
Commissioning of Laforge‑2 (319 MW), the eighth and last generating station of the La Grande Complex in James Bay.
Creation of Hydro‑Québec TransÉnergie (HQT), to provide non‑discriminatory and reliable access to Québec’s transmission grid.
Signature of the « Peace Among Braves » agreement between the Québec government and the Grand Council of the Crees.
Hydro‑Québec’s net income broke the C$2 billion mark.
HQD’s second call for tenders for the supply of 2,000 MW of wind power.
Sale of nearly all the company’s international assets.
Commissioning of Mercier (50 MW) generating station.
Hydro‑Québec posts net income of C$ 3,141 million, the highest income on record for the company.
HQD’s third call for tenders for the supply of 500 MW of wind power.
Commissioning of a 1,250 MW interconnection between Québec and Ontario.
Creation of the regional government of Eeyou Istchee James Bay led by a joint council represented by Cree and James Bay residents in equal number.
Shutdown of Gentilly-2 generating station (1983-2012; 675 MW), Québec’s sole operating nuclear plant.
Commissioning of the Sarcelle powerhouse (150 MW), the last component of the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project (918 MW).
Rehabilitation of the first unit at Robert-Bourassa, the most powerful facility in Hydro-Québec's generating fleet. The project involves the rehabilitation of 8 of the generating station's 16 generating units—including the replacement of their runners—and the replacement of electrical and mechanical equipment on all 16 units. This will lead to an energy performance increase of more than 2%.
Commissioning of both units at Romaine-2 generating station (640 MW).
Net result of $3,380 million, exceeding the $3-billion mark.
Commissioning of both units at Romaine-1 hydroelectric generating station (270 MW). The entire development was completed eight months ahead of schedule.
Net income of $3,147 million, exceeding the $3-billion mark for a second consecutive year.
Launch of Hydro-Québec’s Strategic Plan 2016–2020, which places customers at the heart of its priorities and sets new growth avenues for the company, including the acquisition of assets or stakes outside Québec.
Net electricity exports reached a historic high of 32.6 TWh, contributing $803 million to net income.
* The major debt issues described in this section do not represent the totality of Hydro-Québec's borrowings.
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