Concepts related to electricity


clean energy

Energy that releases little or no greenhouse gas or particulate pollution into the atmosphere when produced or used and therefore contributes to the fight against climate change. In addition to renewables such as hydro, wind and solar power, clean energy includes nuclear energy even though this source produces radioactive waste that must safely be stored over the long term.


The amount of electricity that can be supplied at a specific point in time, expressed in watts (W) or multiples thereof, such as kilowatts (kW), megawatts (MW) or gigawatts (GW).

carbon neutrality

The ability of a nation, an organization or an individual to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and offsetting any remaining emissions by other means, such as planting trees, implementing carbon capture technologies or purchasing carbon credits.

climate change

A measurable, long‑term shift in global weather patterns resulting directly or indirectly from the greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity. Changes such as global warming compound and amplify the effects of the natural evolution of the climate.

carbon pollution pricing
synonym: carbon pricing

An economic mechanism that consists in putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions to encourage businesses or other organizations, as well as consumers, to reduce their carbon footprint in order to fight against climate change. Those who produce or purchase polluting products, such as petroleum products or natural gas, must pay a tax or an emission allowance for each ton of GHGs they emit. Québec set up its own cap‑and‑trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances in 2013. The price of these allowances will gradually increase in the coming years.



The implementation of strategies and techniques designed to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases resulting from human activity. Decarbonization is achieved by various means, such as replacing fossil fuels by clean, renewable sources of energy, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, equipment and industrial processes, and implementing carbon capture and storage technologies.


energy savings

Capacity that is freed up by customers who reduce their energy consumption, either through behavioral changes (taking shorter showers, for example) or using energy‑efficient technologies such as smart thermostats and efficient heat pumps.


The process of using electricity as an energy source to power a given use, generally with the aim of replacing polluting fossil fuels with clean, renewable energy. Electrification is at the heart of the energy transition.


The quantity of electricity supplied or consumed over a given period, expressed in watthours (Wh) or multiples thereof, such as kilowatthours (kWh), megawatthours (MWh) or terawatthours (TWh). Energy is equal to power, expressed in watts or multiples thereof, multiplied by time, expressed in hours. For example, using 1,000 watts during a 3‑hour period corresponds to 3 kWh of energy.

energy mix

With reference to the production of electricity, the breakdown of the different energy sources used to meet electricity demand. For the purpose of this game, energy savings are included in the energy mix since they free up capacity and therefore help meet demand.

energy storage

The use of technologies such as batteries or pumped-storage generating stations to bank electricity generated during low‑demand periods and inject it into the grid when needed.

energy transition

All the changes undertaken to reduce the environmental impact of generating, distributing and using energy. A pillar of the fight against climate change, the energy transition is grounded in advanced technologies, as well as changes in attitude and behavior. For power system operators, it includes three main components:

  • Decarbonization
  • Digitization, which leverages cleantech innovation to optimize power system operations and energy use
  • Decentralization, through which customers can play a greater role in generating renewable energy and managing their energy use


fossil energy

An energy source formed by the slow transformation of organic or non-organic material buried deep beneath the surface of the Earth. The main sources of fossil energy, i.e., coal, oil and natural gas, are limited and non-renewable, since they take tens of millions of years to form. When burned, they are a major source of pollution, in particular because they emit large quantities of greenhouse gases that are the leading cause of global warming.


generating facility

A facility that produces electricity, such as a hydropower generating station, a wind or solar farm, or a gas-fired power plant.

greenhouse gas (GHG)

Any gas that retains heat in the atmosphere, close to the Earth’s surface, and whose increased concentrations in recent times leads to global warming. Some GHGs occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others result from human activity. The main types of GHGs include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, ozone and nitrous oxide.


intermittent energy source
synonym: variable energy source

An energy source that fluctuates as a function of weather conditions like wind force and sunlight. Facilities that produce intermittent energy, such as wind and solar farms, take less time to build than those that produce stable energy, such as hydropower and nuclear generating stations.


high-voltage line

A transmission line operated at a minimum of 120 kilovolts (kV). In fact, the backbone of Hydro‑Québec’s transmission grid is made up of 735‑kV lines that can carry huge quantities of energy with minimal electrical losses, which limits the number of lines required and therefore lowers costs. High-voltage lines are generally supported by steel or concrete towers, unlike the pole‑mounted distribution lines that supply power to customers’ premises.


megawatt (MW)

A unit for measuring electric power demand, or the capacity of a generating facility, that is equal to one million watts.


peak demand period
synonym: peak period

Period during the day when there is the most pressure on the grid to meet the demand for electricity. Daily peaks occur from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 4 to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday, especially on cold winter days when heating requirements are greatest. That is why Hydro‑Québec has developed products, services and rate options encouraging customers to shift their electricity use to off‑peak periods.

power demand

The amount of electricity that is required at a specific point in time, expressed in watts (W) or multiples thereof, such as kilowatts (kW), megawatts (MW) or gigawatts (GW).


renewable energy

Energy derived from sources or processes deemed to be unlimited because the sources are naturally replenished at a rate that is faster than or equal to the rate at which they are consumed. Renewables such as hydro, wind and solar power are also clean energy sources since they emit very few pollutants.


stable energy
synonym: firm energy

An energy source that can be mobilized as needed, such as hydropower, nuclear energy and fossil fuels.


transmission facility

A facility used to carry electricity from a generating facility to a point on the grid from which it is distributed to customers. Transmission facilities include high-voltage lines and transformation substations, among other things.

Impacts of your choices on your energy mix scorecard


Impact of the selected energy sources on greenhouse gas emissions. The GHG gauge goes from green to orange or red as emissions increase.


Costs related to the incentives offered to encourage customers to save energy, or to the construction and operation of the generating and transmission facilities associated with the selected energy sources. Several factors are taken into account in determining these costs, such as the cost of materials, as well as labor during the construction and operational phases. The Costs gauge goes from green to orange or red as costs increase or become more difficult to predict.


The extent to which the power grid is able to meet the increasing demand for electricity at all times. Beyond prescribed limits, certain energy sources are no longer reliable enough to achieve the 9,000 MW target set for 2035, and the Reliability goes from green to orange or red.