Off-grid systems

We operate off-grid systems in five regions: Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Nunavik, Basse-Côte-Nord, Schefferville and Haute-Mauricie. These vast, sparsely populated territories are home to some 35,000 inhabitants in 30 communities that include Atikamekw, Cree, Innu, Inuit, Naskapi and non-Indigenous populations.

In 2017, these off-grid systems generated 443 GWh of power to serve some 18,500 customers. They include 23 thermal power plants (131 MW) as well as two hydraulic generating stations, Lac-Robertson (21.6 MW) and Menihek (17 MW). Menihek belongs to a third party.

To reduce both our supply costs and our environmental footprint, we’ve undertaken an energy transition in our off-grid systems. Achieving our goals will involve using renewable energies, applying energy efficiency measures and requesting proposals from the private sector for power generation projects that meet our cost, reliability and social acceptability criteria.


  • The request for proposals (RFP) submission deadline for Obedjiwan forest biomass cogeneration was extended to January 2018. (Mauricie)
  • Two processes for conversion of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine system got under way: a draft design to connect the islands to the main grid and an RFP to assess whether another solution would be better. Both processes are currently being evaluated. The RFP is expected to be launched in 2018.
  • Three bids were received for the purchase of 6 MW of wind power generated on the Îles-de-la-Madeleine. (Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine)
  • To prepare for the introduction of renewables into Arctic communities, a pilot project to install 69 solar panels (20 kW) was completed in Quaqtaq. Other equipment may be added in 2018. The aims are to acquire knowledge, identify the main constraints and evaluate installation, maintenance and operating costs. (Nord-du-Québec)
  • We completed a project to recover waste heat from the Îles-de-la-Madeleine thermal plant and use it to heat buildings and water at the Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux des Îles (CISSS). A 1.7-km stretch of piping was installed along the main street to connect the CISSS and the plant, while heat exchangers were added to each of the plant’s six motors. (Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine)

Decommissioning Gentilly-2

On September 20, 2012, the Québec government announced that it would not refurbish Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station and would instead begin the final shutdown of the plant, which had reached the end of its service life after 29 years of operation. In 2013, Hydro-Québec started the decommissioning process by preparing for dormancy. In September of that year, a major first milestone was achieved when the reactor reached the defueled core state.

In June 2016, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) delivered a nuclear power plant decommissioning licence, which will remain valid until 2026. All decommissioning activity will continue to be subject to stringent environmental monitoring.

Decomissionning timeline

Dismantling of Gentilly-2 nuclear generating station

This figure illustrates the phases in the dismantling of the nuclear generating station from 2017 to 2066.

  • 2017 : Authorization was granted to commission two new dry storage areas for spent nuclear fuel. Over 61 m3 of medium-level radioactive waste was transferred to the solid radioactive waste storage facilities. This step in the final shutdown of the ion-exchange resin handling system proceeded according to plan. Radiological and physicochemical environmental monitoring programs were adapted. The environmental protection program was aligned with the new regulatory requirements. A total of 6,000 fuel bundles from the spent fuel pool were moved to the dry storage areas for spent nuclear fuel located within the plant’s security perimeter.
  • 2018 to 2020 : Bundles from the spent fuel pool will be transferred to the dry storage areas for spent nuclear fuel: 6,000 fuel bundles in 2018, 4,800 in 2019 and 5,700 in 2020.
  • The waste management program will be updated and published.
  • 2059 to 2064: Spent fuel will be transferred to a permanent storage facility: the Nuclear Waste Management Organization’s Deep Geological Repository.
  • 2065 to 2066: Total dismantling of the facilities and final site restoration

See also