Montréal, August 3, 2015
Hydro-Québec’s facilities have no impact on Hudson Bay
The allegation by journalist Caroline Montpetit in her article entitled “Nunavik” (August 3, 2015, edition of Le Devoir) that hydroelectric developments could have an impact on winter sea ice in Hudson Bay is without scientific basis.
Grande Rivière, where Hydro-Québec’s developments are located, flows into James Bay and not Hudson Bay. Hudson Bay is located about 100 km further north.
Grande Rivière, where Hydro-Québec’s developments are located, flows into James Bay and not Hudson Bay.
Moreover, the hydroelectric developments of the La Grande complex do not interrupt the natural flow but modulate it depending on the seasons.
Hydro-Québec has undertaken a number of extensive studies on the La Grande complex water discharge. These studies clearly indicate that in winter, the zone of influence of this hydroelectric generating complex is limited to a maximum distance of 60 km around the Grande Rivière estuary. During the rest of the year, the distance is about 20 to 30 km. Its zone of influence never extends as far as Hudson Bay.
Since 2012, Hydro-Québec scientists have been in touch with documentary filmmaker Joel Heath, quoted in the Le Devoir article, in order to share with him the results of the studies carried out by the company. We have pointed out to him that concerns regarding winter sea ice were more likely related to broader issues, such as climate variations.
Hydro-Québec is active in the fight against climate change. Its energy, 99% of which is produced from renewable sources, helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions in northeastern North America. Thanks to Hydro-Québec’s net exports of electricity in 2014, 6.2 million metric tons of GHG emissions were avoided, which is equivalent to the annual emissions from about 1.6 million vehicles.