Hydro-Quebec may dispose of part of its surplus in New Brunswick

Hydro-Québec has concluded a trio of agreements with New Brunswick in particular to sell it more electricity until 2040 in addition to supporting the province as part of its main hydroelectric plant.
E n Under the agreements announced Friday Fredericton and Quebec will also begin to discuss the possibility of increasing the capacity of the two existing interconnections or build new infrastructure in order to increase exports to the Atlantic provinces and the United States.

New Brunswick has been among Hydro-Québec’s customers since 2012. The province will buy 47 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2040, which represents an annual average of more than 2 TWh, which can generate more than $ 100 million in revenue.

“This contract secures a large part of the (surplus) available,” explained the president and chief executive officer of the Crown corporation, Éric Martel, during a telephone interview. It will also help New Brunswick stabilize its prices. ”

The agreements were announced at the Mactaquac hydroelectric power station, which is due for major refurbishment, by Mr. Martel as well as the president and chief executive officer of NB Power Gaëtan Thomas.

In 2018, approximately 7% of Hydro-Québec’s hydroelectricity exports went to New Brunswick. The crown corporation’s main markets are New England, New York and Ontario.

Hydro-Québec has more than 40 TWh of energy available – a quantity that can supply more than four million homes – to export to its neighboring markets, including to the United States.

South of the border, the state-owned company and its American partner Central Maine Power are trying to obtain all the necessary approvals for their transmission line aimed at transporting 9.45 TWh to Massachusetts for two decades.

With regard to discussions on possible new projects between the two provinces, Mr. Martel warned that the talks were in their “early stages”.

“We want to send out a message of cooperation between the two provinces,” he explained. We already go through New Brunswick to export, but in a very limited way. If we increase the capacity, we will be able to channel more energy and everyone will benefit. ”

Hydro-Québec had tried to acquire NB Power in the past, but the $ 3.2 billion transaction, which had aroused passions in New Brunswick, had failed in 2010, when the Liberal government of Jean Charest was in power .

The Mactaquac generating station near Fredericton, inaugurated in 1968 and responsible for the energy supply of approximately 12% of homes in the province, is facing problems with cracking concrete.

Hydro-Québec will offer advisory services, carry out design work in addition to providing technical supervision of part of the project so that the useful life of the complex is extended “at least until 2068”.

“Concrete ages prematurely,” said Martel. We have faced this problem in the past and we have been able to resolve it, at (Beauharnois power station) among others. ”

According to a document published in 2016 by NB Power, the bill to extend the life of the station could reach up to $ 3.6 billion. The problems surrounding concrete cracking have been observed since the 1980s.

Hydro-Québec’s mandate for the Mactaquac power station could extend over a “dozen years”, according to Mr. Martel. This contract should allow the state-owned company to pocket a “hundred million,” said its director.

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