Québec, Ontario and California are partners in the Western Climate Initiative’s carbon market. The Québec and California markets have been officially linked since January 1, 2014, and a first joint auction with Ontario is scheduled for January 2018. Under the Québec cap-and-trade (C&T) system, organizations, such as Hydro-Québec, that emit 25,000 tonnes or more of CO2 equivalent per year must offset their emissions with their GHG emission allowance, in accordance with set terms and conditions.
The Québec C&T system allocates carbon emission units based on the tonnes of GHGs that organizations can emit over a given period. At the end of each period, emitters must report their emissions and use their emission allowance to “pay” for them. The limit is lowered every year, with a view to reducing GHG emissions.
Hydro-Québec is subject to the C&T system for the following three emission sources:
- The oil-fired thermal generating station on Îles-de-la-Madeleine
- Electricity purchased outside Québec, mainly from thermal sources
- Losses of insulating gases (SF6 and CF4) from certain transmission facilities.
Activities in 2016
- Emissions avoided by net exports of electricity: 7,953,810 t CO2 eq. (7,373,851 t CO2 eq. in 2015).
- Atmospheric emissions from electricity generation and purchases in Québec were significantly lower than the average for neighboring Canadian provinces and U.S. states: 360 t CO2/TWh (569 times less), 3.1 t SO2/TWh (150 times less) and 7.5 t NOx/TWh (281 times less). Every year, Hydro-Québec updates a fact sheet, Energy Supplies and Air Emissions, that industrial customers can use to calculate their carbon balance.
- Hydro-Québec’s pension plan administrators reviewed all the share portfolios ($9 billion) for their GHG emissions with a view to supporting the fight against global warming. Eventually, the results of this review will be incorporated into the company’s responsible investment policy. Most of the plan’s external managers have signed the UN Principles for Responsible Investment that were established in 2006.
- We prepared a response to the request for proposals issued by Massachusetts in 2017 for the purchase of hydropower.
- Trees and bushes were planted on one of our sites in Anjou’s industrial sector to curb the heat island effect and improve the quality of our employees’ work environment. This greening project was carried out jointly between Hydro-Québec, the Conseil régional de l’environnement de Montréal, Soverdi and the Anjou borough as part of the ILEAU program.
- In December, Voyagez futé awarded us a Pro-mobilité durable certificate in the Leader category, in recognition of the sustainable mobility initiatives we have taken with our employees and customers.
Carbon Footprint – Changes Since 1990
(t CO2 eq.)
|Direct sources (level 1)|
|Generating stations||Thermal power plants||227,249|
|Mobile sources||Vehicle fleet||51,571|
|Hydro-Québec aircraft fleet||13,485|
|Utility vehicles (e.g., snowmobiles, tractors, snowblowers)||899|
|Propane-fueled lift trucks||81|
|Fuel use||System maintenance generators||4,304|
|Emergency and jobsite generators||563|
|Other uses||Equipment containing CF4 and SF6||4,200|
|Equipment containing HFCs||467|
|Indirect sources (level 2)|
|Electrical losses||Power transmission and distribution system losses||5,113|
|Indirect sources (level 3)|
|Indirect sources||Electricity purchases||69,167|
|Business travel – employee personal vehicles||5,362|
|Vehicles leased long-term||907|
|Business travel – train||37|
|Business travel – commercial airplanes||1,635|
|Life cycle of fuel||54,074|
|Total emissions||Direct sources (level 1)||346,779|
|Indirect sources (level 2)||5,113|
|Indirect sources (level 3)||140,089|
|Direct and indirect sources||491,981|
GHG emissions from Hydro-Québec operations represent 0.6% of emissions in Québec.
Note: Overall total and sum of subtotals may differ due to rounding.
With over 99% of our output generated from water, Hydro-Québec’s net GHG emission record is among the best in North America. The emissions generated by our operations (346,779 t CO2 eq.) are largely offset by the emissions avoided (7,953,810 t CO2 eq.) through our net exports.