Growth in Electricity Demand Expected to Continue in Québec

November 11, 2022

In the Electricity Supply Plan 2023–2032 (in French only) that it filed with the Régie de l’énergie, Hydro-Québec anticipates an increase of 25 terawatthours (TWh) or 14% in Québec’s electricity demand over the 2022–2032 period. 

This increase is due to several factors, many of which relate to the energy transition:

  • Organic growth: +4.3 TWh*
  • Building/industrial process conversion: +4.5 TWh
  • Emerging markets, including data centers (4.1 TWh), green hydrogen production (2.3 TWh), battery components for electric vehicles (1.2 TWh) and greenhouse farming (0.7 TWh): +8.9 TWh
  • New technologies:
    • Photovoltaic solar: −0.7 TWh
    • Transportation electrification: +7.8 TWh

*TWh: one billion kilowatthours

The sum of the values may differ from the total because of rounding.

Hydro-Québec has already begun to implement the necessary measures to meet the increased demand.

1. Energy efficiency and demand response tools

The anticipated growth takes into account significant energy efficiency efforts that will make it possible to curtail 8.9 TWh by 2032. Hydro-Québec programs such as the Efficient Heat Pump Program for residential customers and the Efficient Solutions Program for business customers will help optimize electricity use.

In addition, demand response tools will help us manage winter peaks, i.e., the coldest hours during the winter when electricity use rises sharply. In total, the tools available to our various customer segments will help curtail more than 3,000 megawatts (MW) in winter 2031-2032—the equivalent of the capacity of La Grande-4 generating station, the second largest among our 62 hydroelectric facilities in terms of capacity. Demand response tools include Hilo and dynamic pricing, as well as the Demand Response (DR) Option offered to business customers.

2. New calls for tenders

To meet the growing demand, Hydro-Québec will have to add energy and capacity to its supply portfolio. To that end, two new calls for tenders—one for 300 MW of wind power and the other for 480 MW of renewable energy—are already underway. Two more, for 1,000 MW of wind power and 1,300 MW of renewable energy, respectively, will be launched in the next few months, and others will follow in the coming years to meet the needs set out in the Electricity Supply Plan 2023–2032.

3. Proactive management of our generation resources

In recent years, Hydro-Québec has also taken steps to increase the capacity of its generating fleet and enhance other sources of supply to which it has access. These include commissioning Romaine-4 generating station, increasing the capacity of some of its existing hydroelectric facilities, creating a 3,000-MW portfolio of wind power projects and purchasing the output of generating stations owned and operated by Evolugen.

Request to suspend the allocation of electricity to the blockchain industry

Lastly, in light of the significant increase in the anticipated demand for electricity and the tightening energy and capacity balances, Hydro-Québec filed a request with the Régie de l’énergie regarding suspension of the allocation process to the blockchain industry. Under this process, approximately 270 MW were slated to be dedicated to cryptographic use over the short term, but the allocation of that amount of capacity to this use would increase pressure on current balances.

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