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    Quebec Factbook: Renewable Energy

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    RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES, such as hydroelectricity, wind, biomass, and solar can be found wherever the wind blows, rivers flow, or sun shines.

    HYDROELECTRICITY While having more than one million lakes makes Quebec a beautiful province, its power as an energy supplier mainly comes from its more than 130,000 rivers and streams. In fact, more than 40 per cent of Canada’s water reserves are located in Quebec. By tapping into those natural resources, the province has become a leader in clean and renewable energy production. Today, Quebec’s energy sector is nearly synonymous with hydroelectricity.

    But Quebec’s electricity doesn’t just stay at home. Hydro-Québec also sells their hydroelectricity to other provinces, including Ontario, the Maritimes and the northeastern United States. As a result, the hydroelectric industry contributes billions of dollars to the province’s economy each year. In Quebec, electricity is the most commonly used source of energy, making up 40 per cent of the province’s energy consumption. Oil is a close second at 39 per cent.

    WIND While hydroelectricity dominates Quebec’s energy sector, the province also produces a lot of energy from wind. The wind power industry is so large that the province now ranks second in Canada in terms of installed capacity. It’s partially due to the province’s 350-megawatt (MW) Rivière-du-Moulin wind farm, the largest in Canada. Wind power in Quebec is a relatively young venture, only dating back to 1998 and the Le Nordais project, the province’s first commercial wind farm. The 133 MW wind farm was built in the Matane region almost 20 years ago and is still operational to this day.

    In the past two decades, wind power production has grown significantly. Hydro-Québec has signed contracts with independent power producers for a total of 3,710 MW of wind capacity, installed at several sites concentrated throughout the Gaspésie-Îlesde- la-Madeleine region and the Matane Regional County Municipality. Hydro-Québec buys wind power from independent producers and feeds it into the electricity grid.While hydroelectricity dominates Quebec’s energy sector, the province also produces a lot of energy from wind. The wind power industry is so large that the province now ranks second in Canada in terms of installed capacity. It’s partially due to the province’s 350-megawatt (MW) Rivière-du-Moulin wind farm, the largest in Canada. Wind power in Quebec is a relatively young venture, only dating back to 1998 and the Le Nordais project, the province’s first commercial wind farm. The 133 MW wind farm was built in the Matane region almost 20 years ago and is still operational to this day.

    In the past two decades, wind power production has grown significantly. Hydro-Québec has signed contracts with independent power producers for a total of 3,710 MW of wind capacity, installed at several sites concentrated throughout the Gaspésie-Îlesde- la-Madeleine region and the Matane Regional County Municipality. Hydro-Québec buys wind power from independent producers and feeds it into the electricity grid.

    SOLAR

    Solar power is another source of renewable energy, but in Quebec it is still in the experimental stages for large scale power generation. However, there is some small-scale use of solar power, such as with residential homes having solar panels mounted on their rooftops. This allows users to produce some of their own energy to offset electricity bills.

    Of the incredible 63,000,000 watts per square metre of energy the sun emits, only about 547 watts per square metre reaches the earth’s surface. As the sun’s energy makes its way through the atmosphere, some of it is reflected back into space and the rest is filtered by oxygen, nitrogen, ozone, water vapour and other substances. The energy is then captured by photovoltaic technology through solar cells.

    BIOMASS

    Only 1.4 per cent of electricity generated in Canada comes from biomass, yet it is the country’s third largest renewable source of energy. Today, 4.6 per cent of Canadian households still rely on wood as a primary or secondary source of heating. Bioenergy begins with biomass. Industrial wood waste, such as from pulp and paper mills, is the most important biomass. Yearly, more than 400 petajoules (PJ) of bioenergy is used in the industrial sector and another 100 PJ is used in the residential sector. In Quebec, energy producers are using three different types of biomass: forest, urban and agriculture. These three types of biomass are converted into bioenergy by different means. Forest debris is used in steam generators to produce electricity, methane gas is captured from urban waste at landfills, and agricultural products are distilled into liquid biofuels. Quebec is densely forested and the province’s forest biomass potential was estimated to be at 19.5 million tonnes of dry matter in 2011. About 42 per cent of that biomass energy is already being used for power generation, such as for heating and electricity (although the amount of electricity produced is still very marginal). Biomass accounts for 1 per cent of electricity produced in the province. In Quebec, some companies and businesses use biomass to generate electricity to power their facilities.

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    Hydroelectricity in Quebec
    Wind energy in Quebec
    Quebec Energy Production
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