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Two systems are made for each other; Quebec-Ontario electricity cooperation will pay big dividends

www.cleanairalliance.org

March 24, 2009 - Increasing cooperation between Ontario’s and Quebec’s electricity systems could help the two provinces meet their social, economic and climate goals according to Equiterre and the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA).

Equiterre and the OCAA today released their joint letter to Premiers Charest and McGuinty calling for action on the Premiers’ June 2008 commitment to increase electricity trade between their two provinces.

“Despite the fact that Quebec has vast, low-cost hydro-electricity generation capacity, in 2008, Hydro Quebec’s electricity exports provided Ontario’s consumers with less than 1% of their electricity needs. With the completion of the new 1,250 megawatt Hydro Quebec/Hydro One interconnection facility in 2010 the potential for increased electricity trade between our two provinces will increase dramatically,” said Jack Gibbons, Chair of the OCAA.

“The electricity systems of our two provinces are made for each other,” said Stephen Guilbeault of Equiterre. “Ontario electricity demand peaks on hot summer days when Quebec has surplus hydro power. Quebec demand peaks on cold winter days when Ontario will likely have plentiful wind power.”

“Increased east-west electricity trade can help both provinces meet their electricity needs and reduce the need for new generating facilities. It is also a way for Quebec to support Ontario’s coal power phase-out which is the single largest greenhouse gas emission reduction initiative in North America,” said Mr. Guilbeault.

The Ontario and Quebec governments made a commitment to closer integration of their electricity systems during their historic joint cabinet meeting in Quebec City in June 2008. What is needed now is a formal cooperation agreement to facilitate and promote greater electricity trade between Ontario and Quebec.

“The good news is that Hydro Quebec is already committed to increasing the efficiency of electricity use in Quebec. Without building a single new dam, energy efficiency investments can free up billions of kilowatt hours for export to Ontario,” points out Mr. Guilbeault. “Long-term, firm electricity contracts can provide Ontario with reliable renewable electricity and Quebec with a guaranteed revenue stream to help fund its hospitals and schools,” Mr. Guilbeault said.

In addition, Quebec’s hydro-electric reservoirs can be used to provide “firming” services for Ontario’s growing fleet of wind turbines. When wind power is lacklustre in Ontario, Quebec can use its hydro reserves to provide its neighbour with back-up power. When wind is strong in Ontario, Ontario can send power back to Quebec to help it build up its hydro reserves by holding back water. “By integrating Ontario’s wind generation with Quebec’s hydro-electric reservoirs, Ontario’s intermittent wind generation can be converted into a firm 24/7 supply of renewable electricity for Ontario consumers,” said Mr. Gibbons.

The Equiterre/OCAA joint letter to Premiers Charest and McGuinty can be downloaded from www.equiterre.org and www.cleanairalliance.org

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