The goal of the $5 billion project was the partial (71%) diversion of the Rivière Rupert's flow northward and the construction of two new powerhouses:
One of the project's main strengths lies in the optimization of the generating capacity of certain powerhouses in the La Grande complex. Once it has driven the turbines at Eastmain-1 or Eastmain-1-A and Sarcelle powerhouses, the water diverted from the Rupert increases the turbine flow at the existing La Grande-1 generating station as well as Robert-Bourassa or La Grande-2-A.
Right from the design stage, the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project has incorporated many environmental protection measures that take into account the concerns of the host communities.
Thanks to a combination of dikes and canals that improve water flow, the creation of the Rupert diversion bays flooded a minimal land area. Moreover, a substantial ecological instream flow and a series of weirs in the Rupert protect biological diversity, preserve the landscape and maintain navigation and other activities in the area.
In its 12th global inventory of electricity production from renewable sources, the Observatoire des énergies renouvelables (Observ'ER) points out that the Eastmain-1-A/Sarcelle/Rupert project "is a prime example of how to incorporate environmental constraints." Observ'ER is an industry reference for renewable energy.
Favorably received by the host community
The signing of the Paix des Braves by the Québec government and the Crees of Québec on February 7, 2002, was a historic step in the development of a new relationship with the James Bay Crees. In this agreement, the Crees agreed in principle to construction of the project, subject to the conditions set out in the Boumhounan Agreement signed the same day.
The Crees have participated in all stages of the project, from design to environmental follow-up. Cree traditional knowledge was incorporated into the environmental studies, in particular through community participation in the field surveys.
Watch the video about the project [In French only]
The Eastmain-1-A and Sarcelle powerhouses and Rupert diversion project is now in service. If you want to view current projects, visit our site Construction projects.