Forecasting demand

To secure tomorrow’s power supply, you need to able to correctly forecast demand—a meticulous and demanding task.

Supply plan examined and commented upon

Every three years, Hydro-Québec publishes a supply plan that forecasts Québec’s electricity needs for the next ten years. The plan is submitted to the Régie de l’énergie, then examined and commented upon at a public hearing. After this, the plan is approved by the Régie de l’énergie and monitored annually.

Monitoring demand and peaks throughout Québec

Experts continuously monitor power demand and actual peak consumption in over 400 substations in the grid across Québec.

Based on the power flow history of these 400 substations, and taking into account the Supply Plan forecasts, the experts estimate future electricity use and peaks in consideration of regional realities.

Indeed, differences between the regions—which can be significant—often factor heavily into determining when and where to reinforce or extend the power grid.

Factors that influence forecasts

Demographic change

Population growth and number of households will naturally affect Québec’s future energy consumption. Regional demographics have a huge impact, since there may be a sizeable increase to the number of households in one region, while another region remains unchanged.

Urban and regional county municipality (RCM) land use plans

These land use plans are essential to anticipating future needs. We stay in constant touch with all RCM and urban planners so that we can harmonize the power grid with current and future land use to the greatest degree possible.

Industrial and commercial development

Industrial and commercial activities can significantly affect future electricity consumption. The outlook for each area of activity in each region is carefully taken into account. Emerging activities like greenhouse farming, data center operations and blockchain mining must also be considered.

Electrification of the economy

Government decisions to electrify the economy in the interest of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have a significant effect on future electricity demand. The electrification of transport (cars, trucks, buses, trams, etc.) will increase demand, as will switching from fuel oil and natural gas to electricity to heat water and buildings.

Impact of climate change

Climate change will have a varying effect on electricity use. A warming trend will reduce the demand associated with heating in winter, but will increase the demand associated with air conditioning in summer.

Emerging technologies

Lastly, there are a number of promising technologies with the potential to reduce power system demand. For example, some customers will be able to generate a portion of their electricity needs by installing photovoltaic solar panels. Home automation systems for managing energy use and storage (e.g., battery storage, accumulated heat) could also take some pressure off the grid, especially during peak periods.