A project for sustainable development

Economic Benefits

Un projet de développement durable, intérêt et retombées économiques

The Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project generated major economic spinoffs for the communities concerned and for Québec as a whole.

This exceptionally cost-efficient project maximizes the generating capacity of several existing powerhouses and thus optimize water use, which is in line with the principles of sustainable development.

The cost of generating electricity, estimated at 5.1¢/kWh in 2011, will benefit future generations.

A very profitable drop of water... 4 times through the turbines!

Project cost:

Cost of generating electricity:

Construction schedule:

$5 billion

5.1 ¢/kWh


Total installed
capacity: 918 MW

Eastmain-1-A powerhouse:

Sarcelle powerhouse:

768 MW

150 MW

The project's main strength lies in the optimization of the generating capacity of some of the existing generating stations in the La Grande complex. Once it has driven the turbines at the Eastmain-1 or Eastmain-1-A and Sarcelle powerhouses, the water will continue on to the existing Robert-Bourassa, La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1 generating stations.

Increase in average annual output: 8.7 TWh

Eastmain-1-A powerhouse:

Sarcelle powerhouse:

La Grande-2-A and La Grande-1
additional output using inflows from the Rupert River:

2.3 TWh

1.1 TWh

5.3 TWh

A project that is profitable for everyone

Regional purchases and contracts awarded

Québec as a whole:

$2,883.4 M

Cree communities:

$870.3 M

Municipality of Baie-James:

$214.1 M


$276.0 M


$396.0 M

Measures to promote spinoffs

The Boumhounan Agreement provides for various measures to facilitate participation by Cree businesses and workers:

  • Negotiation by mutual agreement of contracts worth $240 million.
  • Lobbying of the Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) to facilitate Cree employment.
  • Hiring of a Cree employment counsellor.
  • A $1.5-million fund for theoretical and hands-on training for Cree workers.
  • Allocation of $45 million worth of contracts during operations.

Measures have also been planned to increase the project's spinoffs for the Baie-James economy:

  • Priority given to regional businesses in contracts and procurement under $1 million.
  • Regional subcontracting clause to encourage large contractors to procure supplies locally.
  • A jobsite agent will be hired to promote Baie-James businesses.
  • 50-year financial partnership with the Municipality of Baie-James.

The Eastmain-1 development (2002-2006) demonstrated that implementation of various optimization measures in conjunction with key players in the community significantly increases the participation of Cree and Jamesian workers and businesses in major hydroelectric development projects.


The follow-up program helped identify actual economic spinoffs, compare them with forecasts and review the effectiveness of the measures implemented to promote participation by Cree and Jamesian companies and workers in the project, as well as by the Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean regions.

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