Why choose Lac-Mégantic?

Lac-Mégantic is the ideal site for this innovative project:

  • The development of an entirely new downtown area offers significant advantages from a technical perspective.
  • The vision of a downtown rebuilt based on sustainable development principles is perfectly aligned with the spirit of the project.
  • The region’s commitment is helping to ensure the active participation of the entire community.

What did the project involve?

  • About 30 buildings
  • About 2,200 electricity-generating solar panels
  • Batteries able to store up to 1 MWh of energy
  • The project can be enhanced as technologies and the downtown area evolve.

What is a microgrid?

Microgrids are community-centered initiatives to meet local users’ needs. They may feature a range of components, such as solar panels, energy storage units and tools for managing building’s energy use. They can be connected to Hydro‑Québec’s main grid or function independently.

The Lac-Mégantic microgrid will be adapted to the municipality’s reality and will evolve as the downtown area is redeveloped.

Why is Hydro‑Québec taking on the challenge of developing a microgrid?

The Lac-Mégantic microgrid is a major step in Hydro‑Québec’s energy transition and technological evolution. It will be a living technological development project in the center of downtown Lac-Mégantic, using cutting-edge energy technologies.

For Hydro‑Québec, the project will provide an opportunity to assess how the new technologies could help the company pursue its mission more efficiently:

  • Reduce peak power purchases
  • Ensure service continuity
  • Avoid grid-investment costs
  • Reduce the operating costs of its off-grid systems

The work conducted as part of Hydro‑Québec’s technology development projects stands to contribute to the development of new products and services for customers.

What are the advantages of the microgrid for customers?

The potential advantages for customers are as follows:

  • Lower power consumption
  • Greater comfort
  • Uninterrupted service at all times to certain buildings

Why invest in solar power when the energy generated on Hydro‑Québec’s main grid is already green?

With the Lac-Mégantic microgrid, Hydro‑Québec is enhancing its expertise in the areas of solar power integration, energy storage and demand-side management. This expertise will be used, in part, to convert Hydro‑Québec’s 22 off-grid systems, where fossil fuels are used to generate electricity.

When did the work begin?

Work began in 2018. Further work was carried out as the downtown area was rebuilt.

Will customers still have electricity during outages?

It will be possible to maintain electricity service to certain buildings. However, this will not be possible for the entire microgrid.

How will participants be affected?

They should not be affected and will continue to receive the same service as before. However, by maximizing the use of demand-side management tools, some customers may reduce their electricity consumption without sacrificing comfort.

When was the microgrid commissioned?

At the end of 2020.

Why doesn’t the microgrid include a wind turbine?

It’s true that a wind turbine is very much in keeping with the notion of a microgrid. However, in this case, given the project’s city-center location, a wind turbine wasn’t a workable solution. Why? Because of its size. Such structures are much, much bigger than you might think if you’ve never seen one up close. There was simply no place to put it! Also, to be worthwhile, a wind turbine also needs to be positioned strategically, meaning in a place where the wind is strong and reliable.

Why wasn't a wave-energy device (hydrokinetic turbine) installed in the nearby river?

One goal of the project was to master technologies that can then be transposed to off-grid systems in northern Québec. While solar panels and battery systems can be installed just about anywhere, a wave energy device requires a waterway with very strong current, like the Fleuve Saint-Laurent (St. Lawrence River). But that’s not all: other factors come into play as well. In reality, finding a waterway that’s perfectly suited to a hydrokinetic turbine is very difficult.