In July 2015, in response to the Government Sustainable Development Strategy 2015–2020 [in French only] , we published our third Sustainable Development Action Plan. Through our initiatives, we aim to contribute to implementing this strategy, the strategy to ensure the occupancy and vitality of territories (in French only) and Québec’s Agenda 21 for culture.

Sustainable Development Action Plan 2015-2020 follow-up

  • Action related to the implementation of the strategy to ensure the occupancy and vitality of territories.
  • Action related to the implementation of Québec’s Agenda 21 for culture.

Action 1: Build hydropower projects

Indicator: Cumulative capacity made available by the Romaine project

2018 Result: 1,305 MW

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Capacity (MW) 640 910 1,305 1,305 1,305 1,550

In 2018, construction continued on the Romaine complex in the Minganie region (Côte-Nord). With Romaine-2, Romaine-1 and Romaine-3 generating stations having come onstream in 2014, 2015 and 2017, respectively, our teams concentrated their efforts on Romaine-4 (245 MW), which is set to be commissioned in 2021.

At Romaine-3, we continued the process of pouring concrete to close off the diversion tunnel and shutting down Murailles workcamp. At Romaine-4 (245 MW), construction proceeded: the diversion tunnel went into operation, cofferdams were built upstream and downstream, and grouting was finished on the dam facing; at the intake and the spillway, excavation was completed and concreting began, while excavation work continued at the powerhouse site

Action 2: Increase the capacity of existing hydroelectric generating stations

Indicator: Cumulative gains in additional available peak capacity (MW)

2018 Result: 61 MW

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Capacity (MW) 36 42 54 60 60 60

In Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Rapides-des-Quinze generating station recorded capacity gains of 6.6 MW during the 2017–2018 winter peak, following the replacement of one of its turbine runners. Improving the performance of this facility allows additional output of 23.8 GWh per year.

Action 3: Continue energy efficiency initiatives

Indicator: New annual energy savings (GWh)

2018 Result: 455 GWh

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Nouvelles économies d’énergie annuelles (GWh) 500 500 500 500 500 500

Thanks to customer participation in our various energy efficiency programs, energy savings in 2018 totaled 455 GWh: 207 GWh for the residential market, 3 GWh for off-grid systems and 245 GWh for the business market. As a result of targeted initiatives, Hydro-Québec estimates that power demand for 2018–2019 will drop by 296 MW , primarily owing to the participation of commercial and institutional customers.

Action 4: Continue efforts in the field of transportation electrification in Québec

  • Indicator: Number of Electric Circuit charging stations in service/number of regions served
  • Indicator: R&D partnership agreements
  • Indicator: Number of patents held

2018 Results: 1,647 charging stations in 16 regions, 2 agreements, 533 patents

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Number of charging stations deployed - 800 1 100 - - 2 500

Launched in 2012, the Electric Circuit has 315 partners and 1,647 charging stations in Québec. As at December 31, 2018, there were 1,484 regular 240-V stations and 163 fast-charge (400-V) stations in 16 of the province’s 17 administrative regions.

The Center of Excellence in Transportation Electrification and Energy Storage plays a major role in battery material research, design and development and commercializes associated patents. Its research involves the physical components of high energy and power density lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and large-scale energy storage. Two of our current partnerships relate to transportation electrification. Hydro-Québec also holds 533 patents linked to energy storage and conversion.

Action 5: Publicize the knowledge acquired through Hydro-Québec environmental studies

Indicator: Number of publications on the Web

2018 Result: 4

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Number of publications 2 2 2 2 2 2

We have been conducting environmental impact assessments in connection with our projects for many years. In 2018, we issued the following publications:

  1. Boreal river impoundments caused nearshore fish community assemblage shifts but little change in diversity: a multiscale analysis. Scientific paper on river flow regulation and reservoir creation in boreal regions.
  2. Juvenile lake sturgeon monitoring and determinants of year-class strength in the Rupert River, mid-northern Québec, Canada. Scientific paper on the results of environmental follow-ups and analyses conducted to explain the variations observed in the abundance of young sturgeon after the partial diversion of the Rivière Rupert.
  3. Complexe La Grande. Évolution de l'emprise de la couverture de glace de la baie James entre 1970 et 2016 (in French). Overview of ice cover changes in James Bay from 1970 to 2016. Purpose: observe whether there were any major changes in ice cover and determine whether these changes can be related to hydrological modifications associated with hydroelectric generation or with climate change.
  4. 4. Modelling CO2 emissions from water surface of a boreal hydroelectric reservoir. Overview of the changes in GHG emissions from a reservoir over a 100-year period, under the impact of climate change. Purpose: determine how climate change affects GHG emissions from reservoirs in boreal regions.

Action 6: Continue to protect and enhance the company’s built, technological and intangible heritage

Indicator: Number of measures carried out by 2020

2018 Result: 7

2020 Target
Number of measures carried out 2

Hydro-Québec carried out initiatives and issued various publications to further its mission to protect and enhance the company’s built, technological and intangible heritage. Here are a few examples:

  • Study presenting a comparative assessment of the technological and built heritage of hydropower developments.
  • Promotion of our call centers, including a historical overview, and tour of the distribution control center and the distribution system coordination center.
  • Two virtual exhibitions: Icy January, about the 1998 ice storm, and The Guardian of the Rivière Saint-Maurice, about Gouin dam. These exhibitions include historical anecdotes, archival photos, artifacts from Hydro-Québec’s historical collection, etc.
  • Four heritage booklets provided to visitors at Édifice Jean-Lesage and Carillon, Rivière-des-Prairies and Première-Chute generating stations.
  • Advertisements regarding Hydro-Québec heritage and facility tours.
  • Tour Rallies mobile app: for visitors to the Beauharnois and Manic-5 facilities.
  • Artifacts from Hydro-Québec’s historical collection showcased on social media: Facebook and Twitter.

Action 7: Strengthen environmentally responsible management practices

  • Indicator: Annual GHG emission from the light-vehicle fleet (t CO2 eq.)
  • Indicator: Number of videoconferences held annually
  • Indicator: Company printers that are print-release enabled (%)

2018 Results: 21,296 t CO2 eq, 17,074 videoconferences, 18,4%

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Emissions (t CO2 eq.) 25,360 25,360 24,733 24,590 24,446 24,032
Number of videoconferences 4,360 4,430 4,500 4,650 4,650 4,720
Percentage of print-release printers s.o. s.o. s.o. s.o. s.o. 15%

In 2018, GHG emissions from Hydro-Québec’s light-vehicle fleet decreased by 26% compared with 2009, and by 1.5% compared with 2017 (21,532 t CO2 eq.). At December 31, our fleet comprised 5,236 vehicles, including 1,583 heavy vehicles. GHG emissions from our heavy-vehicle fleet were up by 3.3% relative to 2009, and by 3.5% relative to 2017 (29,531 t CO2 eq.).

Currently, there are 294 light hybrid or plug-in vehicles in our fleet. We intend to increase that number to 500 by 2020. As regards our heavy-vehicle fleet:

  • We have procured 26 new panel trucks equipped with rechargeable backup generating sets since 2017.
  • We plan to purchase 15 new hybrid bucket trucks, currently being manufactured.

Business travel by senior management in 2018 generated some 40 t CO2 eq. These emissions were offset.

The 2020 target for videoconferences was exceeded some time ago. We will continue to increase the use of videoconferencing in the years to come and maintain our efforts to educate employees about this communication tool, which reduces costs, travel and GHG emissions.

The print-release system optimizes our printer pool, saves paper and supplies, and increases confidentiality. In 2018, this system allowed us to avoid 1.8 million print jobs. The office printer pool is made up of 3,399 printers (3,383 in 2017): 625 that are print-release enabled (542 in 2017) and 2,152 that include a print-release feature.

Action 8: Continue measures that take into account and protect biodiversity and ecosystem services

Indicator: Number of innovative measures implemented annually to take into account and protect biodiversity and ecosystem services

2018 Result: 5

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Number of innovative measures 5 5 5 5 5 5

In accordance with government guidelines, we are continuing our efforts to take into account and protect biodiversity and ecosystem services. In 2018, we carried out five innovative initiatives:

  • We took caribou migration periods into consideration in Duplanter spillway release planning. (Côte-Nord)
  • An intake gate blocking mechanism was designed and then installed at Sainte-Marguerite-3 generating station. This mechanism prevents lake whitefish from falling into a service space—previously responsible for the death of hundreds of fish every fall. (Côte-Nord)
  • We developed a method to help understand the resilience of wetlands in power line rights-of-way.
  • We developed a variety of tools to improve the potential use of power line rights-of-way by native pollinators.
  • A study was conducted on migratory birds nesting in power line rights-of-way. The method’s novelty lies in its examination of bird nest characteristics in early fall.

Action 9: Optimize the application of sustainability principles to projects and activities

Indicator: Number of projects or activities analyzed each year

2018 Result: 1

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Number of projects or activities per year 1 1 1 1 1 1

We have a longstanding history of following sustainability principles in our projects and operations, including construction and refurbishment projects and operation and maintenance activities. All Hydro-Québec projects must meet the following conditions: they must be profitable, environmentally acceptable and favorably received by local communities. To support the government’s intention to bolster the application of sustainability principles to structuring initiatives, we are undertaking a gradual analysis of our significant project and activities through the lens of sustainability principles.

In 2018, we carried out a specific analysis of the 735-kV Micoua–Saguenay line project. This exercise demonstrated that the 16 principles of sustainability in the Québec Sustainable Development Act were followed.

Moreover, this line project takes into account local residents’ health and quality of life, environmental protection and the involvement of local communities. It also includes many mitigation measures.

Action 10: Promote the integration and favorable reception of Hydro-Québec’s system equipment

Indicator: Regional county municipalities (RCMs) that have received the information program (%)

2018 Result: 44 %

2020 Target
Proportion de MRC (%) 90

Hydro-Québec disseminates an information program targeting municipal authorities (land-use and urban planners) to provide details about the power grid and its impact on land development. The program encourages discussion and helps to improve knowledge and the recommended approaches for developing land-use and planning tools, such as land-use and urban development plans.

Action 11: Integrate the notion of life cycle in our innovation efforts

Indicator: Number of projects to which sustainability and eco-innovation principles have been applied

2018 Result: 1

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Nombre de projets 1 1 1 1 1 1

To reduce our environmental footprint and increase the social acceptability of our technological innovations, we are integrating sustainability principles into our innovation process. In 2018, Hydro-Québec launched a project to build two experimental solar farms using the life cycle approach.

These solar farms will form part of Hydro-Québec’s centralized power generation system; testing on how to integrate their output into the main grid will continue over the next three years. Once fully commissioned, these new generating facilities will allow us to offer new services based on new technologies, take advantage of environmental opportunities resulting from exchanges between Québec and neighboring systems, and increase the flexibility of the grid. A detailed impact study will be conducted.

The first solar farm will serve as a test bench for evaluating and comparing the environmental impacts of the life cycle associated with solar generation systems. The environmental impacts (ecosystem quality, climate change, resources and human health) of the life cycle will also be calibrated based on the availability of sunlight in Québec.

The second solar farm will help us develop a model for the quick assessment of the environmental impacts related to the integration of solar output.

Action 12: Keep updating the state of knowledge on the life cycle assessment of the electricity distributed in Québec

Indicator: Number of updates of inventory data on the life cycle of Québec’s electricity mix per year

2018 Result: 1

2015 Target 2016 Target 2017 Target 2018 Target 2019 Target 2020 Target
Nombre de projets 1 1 1 1 1 1

In collaboration with the International Reference Centre for the Life Cycle of Products, Processes and Services (CIRAIG), we provided the Québec Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Database and the international ecoinvent database with an update on the composition of Québec’s electricity mix. These LCI databases allow the province’s companies to leverage Québec’s clean electricity mix and use the life cycle assessment for various purposes: carbon footprint, GHG declarations, eco-design, marketing, environmental declarations for products, sustainable procurement, etc.

Information updated included: total volume and origin of electricity generated, purchased (inside and outside Québec) and exported in 2016, as well as development of the generating fleet and the transmission and distribution systems. More specifically, the updated information included, for 2016, the addition of three new wind farms (248 MW of installed capacity) and the extension of the transmission system (20 km) and the distribution system (536 km).