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Montréal, July 21, 2017

Press Release

Clean Energy Exports to New England – No Impact on Rivière Betsiamites or Innu Community of Pessamit

Hydro-Québec categorically refutes the allegations of the Innu of Pessamit, who state that increasing our exports will adversely affect the Rivière Betsiamites. This presumption is not a fact.

Hydro-Québec is a responsible power utility that operates its 62 generating stations in accordance with all laws, regulations and permits in effect. Hydro-Québec follows the same operating rules applicable to its generating stations regardless of the volume of its electricity exports at any given time.

The clean energy transmitted to our neighbors to the south comes from the entire grid, not any particular region or generating station.

Here are some other facts:

  • Hydro-Québec strictly abides by the operating rules of generating stations on the Betsiamites, which were drawn up in collaboration with and approved by the community of Pessamit. Salmon studies done in the 1990s served as a basis for the definition of these operating rules, which include the establishment of an ecological instream flow regime to protect the environment and preserve the river’s salmon population.
  • Hydro-Québec, working with the community of Pessamit, carried out a salmon restoration program in the Betsiamites, with impressive results. After the river was stocked with young fish between 1999 and 2010, the estimated numbers of large salmon returning went from 480 in 2002 to more than 1,000 in 2006 and 2007. In fact, a committee of independent experts recognized that the program enabled significantly higher salmon returns and underscored how important it was for the community of Pessamit to follow a fishing plan to ensure the long-term maintenance of a salmon population in the river.
  • Hydro-Québec finds it regrettable that the community of Pessamit is bypassing Québec’s dispute resolution mechanisms, despite being one of our partners in various development projects. Under a number of agreements, Hydro-Québec has paid out almost $80 million to the community within the past 20 years. If the representatives of the Innu community have concerns or financial demands, Hydro-Québec is willing to listen. It is unfortunate that they are choosing to be associated with the Sierra Club, an American environmental organization that does not believe that hydropower has a role to play in reducing greenhouse gases, rather than to settle their dispute with Hydro-Québec.
  • Hydro-Québec maintains respectful, constructive relationships with the Indigenous communities that host its facilities. Since 1975, we have entered into some thirty agreements with First Nations in Québec. Through these agreements, the communities become active partners in the projects, take part in environmental follow-up programs and benefit from economic spinoffs.

Hydropower generates the lowest greenhouse gas emissions of all generation methods.
Hydro-Québec’s exports displace fossil fuel power generation in markets outside Québec, thereby extending the benefits of its clean energy to them. Last year, our net power exports helped avoid close to 8 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent—as much as the emissions from 1,750,000 vehicles.

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