Thirty years ago, in the wake of our major Baie-James projects, we introduced various methods for communicating with stakeholders with a view to promoting the social acceptability of our generation and transmission projects.

Social acceptability is as important to the success of our projects as is profitability and respect for the environment. Every project is unique, so the measures required to make projects acceptable vary depending on the host community’s expectations. This is why we solicit public participation and establish partnerships with stakeholders. Local communities can thus participate in the planning of our projects and help us develop solutions that meet our respective needs.

Public participation in a major project

Planning

GENERATION

  • Preliminary discussions with regional county municipalities and Aboriginal communities with a view to signing agreements
  • Identification of basic expectations and issues
  • Duration: 1 to 2 years

TRANSMISSION

  • Evaluation of communication tools based on the host community and type of project
  • Duration: 1 to 2 years

Draft-design and government authorizations

GENERATION

  • Information and discussion panels
  • Continuous communications (open-house events, information meetings, media relations, etc.)
  • Public consultation by government authorities
  • Duration: 2 to 5 years

TRANSMISSION

  • Three communication phases implemented by project teams:
    • general information
    • information and consultation
    • information about the solution selected
  • Various communications activities (open house events, information meetings, media relations, etc.)
  • Public consultation by government authoritiesa
  • Duration: 2 to 5 years
  1. For projects of at least 315 kV and more than 2 km.

Construction

GENERATION

  • Regional economic spinoffs committees
  • Environmental and agreement monitoring committees
  • Public information on work progress (bulletins, press releases, etc.)
  • Duration: varies, 2 to 12 years

TRANSMISSION

  • Public information on project progress (bulletins, press releases, Info-project line, etc.)
  • Duration: 1 to 5 years

Operation

GENERATION

  • Environmental and agreement monitoring committees
  • Follow-up duration: varies, exceeds 20 years for the Romaine project

TRANSMISSION

  • As needed, communication with the communities affected

2017 HIGHLIGHTS

  • As part of the project to convert the underground Beaumont–Dorchester line to 315 kV, we worked closely with the Montréal boroughs affected in order to properly inform residents and stakeholders, reduce the impacts of the work and integrate the new line as harmoniously as possible in the urban fabric. We used various means to interact with residents, including a project Web page where residents could submit questions online, a dedicated phone line and open house events. (Montréal)
  • For the project to connect La Romaine village and Unamen Shipu to the power grid, since the thermal power plant supplying these communities had reached the end of its service life, we held consultations with the two municipalities, two band councils and various provincial departments concerned. To inform these audiences, we held meetings, gave interviews and published documents in French, English and Innu. We ascertained the communities’ concerns about the siting of substations, the protection of archaeological sites, the maintenance of hunting and gathering activities, landscape quality and sediment deposition in salmon rivers. (Côte-Nord)

Examples of public participation – 2017

120-kV Grand-Brûlé – Saint-Sauveur supply line (Laurentides)

Status

Under construction

Description

  • The project involves building a 120-kV, 42.5-km line in the Laurentides and Pays-d’en-Haut regional county municipalities (MRCs). The objective is to transfer the power supply for Saint-Sauveur and Doc-Grignon (Sainte-Adèle) satellite substations to Grand-Brûlé source substation (Mont-Tremblant) and eventually supply a third satellite substation.
  • Several transmission substations and lines supplying the Laurentides region have reached their maximum capacity. The new line will help meet the steady growth in demand in the region and support regional economic, commercial, residential and tourism development.

Progress

In August, a certificate of authorization was obtained from the Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MDDELCC), allowing clearing and construction work to begin.

A government decree was obtained in December 2017 to build the line.

Clearing began in fall.

Québec-New Hampshire interconnection (Estrie)

Status

Under study

Description

  • The project calls for the construction of a new direct-current, 1,090 MW interconnection with New England, including a 320-kV direct-current transmission line, approximately 80 km long, and a converter at Des Cantons substation. The objective is to increase the energy interchange capacity between Québec and New England.

Progress

  • A favorable report was received from BAPE, accompanied by recommendations, one of which to study the option of undergrounding the southern portion of the line, in the Hereford forest area in the Estrie region.
  • A government decree was obtained in December 2017 to build the line.
  • A permit from the National Energy Board was obtained in March 2018 for the construction of the Québec portion of the interconnection.

735-kV Micoua-Saguenay Line (Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean)

Status

Under study

Description

  • The project involves building a 735-kV transmission line stretching some 260 km between Micoua substation in the Côte-Nord region and Saguenay substation in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Commissioning is scheduled for 2022. The objective is to maintain and improve transmission system reliability.
  • The new line will help provide increased transmission capacity in the Manic-Québec corridor, which supplies the province’s major load centers. The greater requirements are due to changes in the grid: lower-than-forecast increase in demand in Côte-Nord and the closure of three generating stations (thermal and nuclear) in southern Québec.

Progress

  • Roughly thirty meetings were held in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean and Côte-Nord regions, as well as five open house events.
  • The working group studying forest-dwelling woodland caribou began its deliberations. The group consists of representatives of the community of Pessamit, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, MDDELCC and Hydro-Québec, as well as an independent expert.

Dike repairs at the Les Cèdres generating station (Montérégie)

Status

Under study

Description

  • Dike repairs will be carried out to improve watertightness and stability and minimize the risk of foundation erosion.
  • Built in 1913–1914, Les Cèdres generating station is supplied with water through a headrace canal whose embankment dike is starting to show signs of infiltration.

Progress

  • Four information and consultation meetings were held with the organizations affected, including two municipalities.
  • We held two open house events in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield and Les Cèdres, and participated in a BAPE public information session. Roughly fifty people attended and were informed and consulted during these public participation activities.
  • Public notices were published in local newspapers, invitations were sent to residents living next to the project site and Facebook was used to invite citizens to open house events.

315/25 kV Patriotes substation and 315-kV supply line (Laurentides)

Status

Under study

Description

  • The project entails the construction of a new 315/25-kV substation in the industrial sector of Saint-Eustache and a new 315-kV supply line to connect the planned substation to the existing line located north of Boulevard Arthur-Sauvé. The objective is to meet the steady growth in demand in the municipalities of Saint-Eustache, Deux-Montagnes and Sainte-Marthe-sur-le-Lac.

Progress

Draft design

  • A roughly 40-km2 study area was surveyed to better understand the human and natural environment where the project will be built.
  • The route variants were designed to reduce the impact on the landscape, limit the number of property owners affected and respect cadastral maps as much as possible.

In 2017

  • A public notice was published in local weekly newspapers.
  • An online survey tool was used and the results were published on social media.
  • Public consultations were held in spring to obtain comments from local authorities, agencies and other property owners concerned.
  • The route chosen was optimized in response to concerns expressed by the community during the consultation period.

See also