Connecting Îles-de-la-Madeleine to the transmission system

March 29, 2023

As part of the review of its decarbonization strategy for the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Hydro-Québec is indefinitely suspending the project to connect the region to the main grid by underwater cables.

Due to the current economic situation, the anticipated project costs have increased significantly. In addition, with the global energy transition well underway, suppliers are unable to meet demand, making it difficult to obtain critical equipment. In accordance with the objective to continue to decarbonize the Îles-de-la-Madeleine region, Hydro-Québec will develop other scenarios in close collaboration with the community.

Hydro-Québec would therefore like to inform participants in the Efficient Energy Use Program that the conversion of fuel-fired heating systems to electric systems is also suspended indefinitely.

Frequently asked questions

An ecodistrict in Îles-de-la-Madeleine

What does the municipality’s ecodistrict project involve?

The vision for the Îles-de-la-Madeleine ecodistrict is that of a forward-looking site in harmony with its oceanside environment at the heart of the islands.

Given the insular character of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, the neighborhood is adapting and changing to help the population live in harmony with the surrounding resources. A modest environmental footprint, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and innovation are key components shaping how the area evolves.

The ecodistrict is unique in that buildings with a low energy impact are part of a microgrid developed by Hydro-Québec, where each building is a nanogrid designed with energy efficiency, resilience and carbon neutrality in mind.

A technology showcase, the ecodistrict provides an opportunity to test and develop new expertise that supports, among other things, the integration of distributed energy resources (DERs). Not only must the ecodistrict support the evolution of technical knowledge but also, and above all, it must be carried out in collaboration with local communities to ensure it is embraced by end users.

Ultimately, by 2030, the Îles-de-la-Madeleine ecodistrict will be a living environment with a robust culture of sustainability that will serve as an inspiration for the rest of Québec. 

How is Hydro-Québec contributing to the ecodistrict project?

Hydro-Québec is a key partner of the ecodistrict project.

In collaboration with the municipality, Hydro-Québec will deploy a technology showcase in support of the energy transition of the islands.

The chosen concept will involve the deployment of a microgrid within the ecodistrict established by the municipality. The objective is for each building to be a nanogrid so that together, all the buildings (nanogrids) will create a microgrid.

This innovative project will be community centered in order to meet the needs of the population. It will include a range of components, such as solar panels, energy storage units and tools for managing buildings’ energy use.

The project is currently being defined in cooperation with the Communauté maritime des Îles-de-la-Madeleine and will address residents’ needs. The integration will be carried out gradually.

What is a microgrid?

  • A smaller version of a typical power system

Main goals

  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
  • Improve energy resilience and independence (regarding climate conditions, among other things) 

Three key elements

  • Local generation of energy
  • Energy storage (electrochemical, thermal, etc.)
  • Smart load management

What is a nanogrid?

  • A building-sized microgrid
  • A concept that maximizes a building’s resilience in the event of an outage on the power system
  • An entity that provides services to the power system

This local integration approach is tailored to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and its major weather events.

Energy transition

Hydro-Québec has announced the connection project several times without ever carrying it out. How do you respond to concerns about these further delays in the energy transition in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine?

In the Îles-de-la-Madeleine and elsewhere, the energy transition poses major challenges. In this particular case, the solution developed by Hydro-Québec was too risky to move forward. We have therefore decided to take the opportunity provided by the Grosse-Île wind farm. At the same time, as requested by the Régie de l’énergie, we will broaden the study on the conversion to R-LNG combined with the addition of wind turbines and the scenarios’ impacts within the context of the islands’ energy transition.  

Can you provide more information on the supply issues affecting the connection project?

The main challenge involved the acquisition of the converters to be installed in the substations. Very few suppliers offer these rare components, which must be configured specifically for our project.

Grosse-Île wind farm

What are the fuel and GHG savings associated with the project?

The Grosse-Île wind farm will save close to 11 million liters of oil in addition to the 7 million liters saved by the Dune-du-Nord wind farm. In 2019, the generating station’s fuel consumption was approximately 42 million liters per year for a total reduction of about 40% compared to 2019. With respect to GHG emissions, the project will lead to an annual reduction of 34 kt CO2 eq.

What about the project’s social acceptability?

It is important to note that the proponent is responsible for demonstrating the project’s social acceptability. Hydro-Québec is of the opinion that the project has been well received by the community.

During the consultations in 2020, local residents were open to adding more wind turbines in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine provided they were built in the Dune-du-Nord sector. Additionally, the project is community led, with the participation of the municipalities of Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Grosse-Île. During the consultations on the changes to the development plan and project, there was no significant opposition.

Efficient Energy Use Program

What happens to the program?

Hydro-Québec is actively working to update the Efficient Energy Use Program for its customers who rely on fuel-fired heating systems. At the same time, it is reviewing all its energy efficiency programs so customers in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine who heat with electricity can benefit from better energy efficiency measures. Further details will be communicated as new offers are introduced.

For more information on this program: 1-800-ENERGIE or

What about the customers enrolled in the Efficient Energy Use Program who use oil or propane heating systems?

We are maintaining our commitment to the customers who have received the authorization to convert their heating system to electricity. They will have the option to pursue the conversion or remain in the program.

The customers whose fuel-fired heating systems are nearing the end of their service life can still access maintenance and troubleshooting services, and the program component to replace end-of-life oil or propane equipment with more efficient alternatives is being relaunched.

For customers whose heating systems have already been converted to electricity under the transition program, Hydro-Québec is reviewing all its energy efficiency programs so customers in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine who heat with electricity can benefit from better energy efficiency measures. Further details will be communicated as new offers are introduced.

Do the conversions that are already completed put pressure on the generating station and the capacity to provide enough electricity during peak periods?

The generating station has the capacity to meet demand, and stopping conversions, updating the Efficient Energy Use Program and promoting other energy efficiency measures help manage it.

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