In Québec, according to the most recent statistics from the Ministère de l’Énergie et des Ressources naturelles, electricity is one of the two most-used forms of energy (the other is oil) and accounts for 37% of the province’s total energy consumption. Industry uses nearly half of all the electricity generated.

There have been many changes in the consumption of different forms of energy over the past 30 years. While some of these energy sources have remained fairly stable, others, like electricity, have increased steadily. Electricity supply sources have also changed over the years. For example, Gentilly¬-2 nuclear generating station and three thermal generating stations (Tracy, La Citière and Cadillac) were shut down. GHG emission rates vary widely between energy sources and hydropower boasts an excellent emissions performance compared to thermal sources.

Accessibility: Trends in the consumption of different forms of energy in Québec (1978-2013).

In this graph, we can see that, following sustained growth until the mid-1980s, electricity consumption in Québec progressed at a more moderate pace, moving slightly ahead of oil consumption in 2011. Here are the 2013 figures:

  • Electricity: 37%
  • Oil: 39%
  • Natural gas: 15%
  • Biomass: 7%
  • Coal: 1%

Some 500,000 lakes and 4,500 rivers cover 12% of Québec’s surface area. Hydro-Québec operates 62 generating facilities connected to the main grid: 61 hydroelectric generating stations (42 run-of-river) and 1 thermal generating station. In addition, our fleet includes 24 generating facilities supplying off-grid systems: 23 thermal generating stations and 1 hydroelectric generating station.

Bécancour is the only thermal generating station connected to the main grid. It is used almost exclusively during winter peak periods.

Installed Capacity and Net Output of Hydro-Québec’s Generating Facilities – 2016
Facilitiesaa Number MW Net output (GWh)b
Hydroelectric generating stations 62 36,366 171,975
Thermal power plants 24 542 303
Total 86 36,908 172,278
  1. One hydroelectric generating station and 23 of the 24 thermal power plants serve off-grid systems.
  2. These figures include renewable energy certificates for the output of Hydro-Québec Production’s generating stations (1,071 GWh) that were sold to third parties.

Note: In addition, Hydro-Québec has access to almost all the output from Churchill Falls generating station (5,428 MW) under a contract with Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited that will remain in effect until 2041. It also purchases all the output from 39 wind farms (3,508 MW) and 5 small hydropower plants (65 MW) and almost all the output from 7 biomass and 3 biogas cogeneration plants (257 MW) operated by independent power producers. Moreover, 1,056 MW are available under long‑term contracts with other suppliers.

To provide our customers with reliable electric service, we draw on a variety of supply sources. Every three years we submit an electricity supply plan to the Régie de l’énergie, which is reviewed yearly, taking into account changes in capacity and energy needs. In addition to our own power generation, we count on 75 supply contracts, covering 15 to 25 years, to meet long-term needs. We also make one-time purchases of electricity and have bilateral agreements in place for handling very short-term needs, and we implement commercial measures with our customers to meet short-term capacity requirements.

Although hydropower makes up the largest share of our energy portfolio, we also rely on other renewables. Through contracts with independent power producers, we not only ensure our supply but support the development of other technologies, such as wind power, biomass and small hydro.

Wind power

We buy wind power from independent producers and feed it reliably into our grid.

Biomass

Biomass involves burning residual waste (forest, agrifood and urban biomass) to produce heat and generate electricity. It is a cost-effective option in regions where industrial activities produce a large quantity of organic waste.

Biogas

This energy, which we buy from independent producers, is generated from the biogas released during decomposition of organic matter.

Small hydro

We buy power from independent producers operating small hydropower plants.

Self-generation

We buy the surplus power of customers who generate their own electricity using renewable energy sources. Conversely, if they do not generate enough power for their needs, they can draw electricity from our grid and benefit from reliable power supply.

Long-Term Non-Heritage Supply Under Contract
Energy source Number of contracts signed Peak capacity (MW) Annual energy generation (TWh)
2017 2026
Biomass 21 338 1.6 2.5
Wind power 38 1,484 10.2 11.3
Cogeneration 1 8 0.1 -
Small hydro 9 122 0.4 0.5
Small hydro 3 600 3.1 4.4
Hydro-Québec generation 3 500 0.0 0.2
Total 75 3,053 15.3 18.8
Net Electricity Generated and Purchased by Hydro-Québec (GWh)a
  2013 2014 2015 2016
Hydropower generated 177,858 172,677 170,590 171,975
Hydropower purchasedb 34,668 33,388 34,435 33,190
Biomass and waste reclamation power purchased 1,614 1,724 2,053 2,093
Wind power purchased 4,721 6,650 8,514 8,635
Total renewablesc 218,861 214,439 215,592 216,613
Total energy generated 178,150 172,981 170,900 172,278
Total energy purchased 41,996 43,723 46,249 44,886
Total energy generated and purchased 220,147 216,703 217,148 217,165
Total renewables/Total energy generated and purchased (%) 99 99 99 99
  1. Overall total and sum of subtotals may differ due to rounding.
  2. Includes purchases from Churchill Falls (Labrador) Corporation Limited and independent power producers, including McCormick generating station, in which Hydro-Québec holds a 60% interest.
  3. These figures include renewable energy certificates for the output of Hydro-Québec Production’s generating stations (1,071 GWh in 2016, 291 GWh in 2015, 142 GWh in 2014 and 142 GWh in 2013) that were sold to third parties. They exclude purchases of wind, hydraulic and biogas energy for which certificates were sold to third parties.

Proportion of sales outside Québec in 2016

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 99%
  • Ontario: 0.63%
  • New York: 0.14%
  • New England: 0.09%
  • New Brunswick, Manitoba, Nova Scotia: 0.04%

Total: 28,371 GWh

See also