Energy transition |  Municipalities want to produce renewable energy

Energy transition | Municipalities want to produce renewable energy

Hydro-Quebec’s appetite for new megawatts piques the greed of Quebec’s municipalities, which want to engage in renewable energy production to reduce their reliance on land revenue and attract new business.

The Union of Municipalities of Quebec (UMQ) will announce Tuesday the establishment of a committee that will explore the possibilities available to towns and villages in terms of energy production and recovery.

“We want to join forces, share knowledge,” he explains in an interview with Press Daniel Côté, president of the UMQ and mayor of Gaspé, who cites the interest generated by the participation of municipal organizations in wind energy production projects in eastern Quebec.

Because in addition to charging royalties for the energy produced in their territory, municipalities can be partners in a production project and obtain income from it.

In Gaspé, the City obtains about 3% of its annual income from its participation in various wind farms, illustrates Daniel Côté.

It’s not a silver bullet, but “it’s still interesting,” he says.

Let’s produce renewable energy and contribute to the fight against climate change while earning money!

Daniel Côté, Union of Quebec Municipalities

Having access to a local source of renewable energy is an “attractive investment factor”, says the UMQ, as it attracts companies that are also concerned about reducing their carbon footprint.

untapped potential

Hydro-Québec’s new export contracts and a new mindset within the Crown corporation are opening up new possibilities for municipalities in terms of energy production, believes Daniel Côté.

“For years, Hydro-Québec talked to us about energy surpluses and did not want to have new energy in its network, but the discourse has changed, there is room for new energy in the network, so there is a moment for us,” he says.

Municipalities intend to take advantage of this, especially as the untapped potential is immense.

From forest biomass that is not recycled to landfill biogas that is simply burned in a flare, “there is energy that is currently being wasted,” says Daniel Côté.

There is a “craze” for biomethanation of organic matter that is still largely sent to landfills, he says, but it is the interest in wind power that still dominates.

The production costs of wind power have become lower than those of [la nouvelle] hydroelectricity; Wind energy has become in recent years the most competitive form of energy.

Daniel Côté, Union of Quebec Municipalities

Solar energy, which is very rare in Quebec, is also expected to develop, estimates the UMQ, noting that the average daily insolation in the south of the province is between 4.2 and 5-kilowatt hours per square meter (kWh/m⁠2), higher than that of Germany, “world market leader in photovoltaic solar energy”.

Recover energy

In addition to producing energy, municipalities are interested in recovering what is wasted.

“In Quebec, about 40% of the energy consumed by large industries is wasted,” says the UMC.

“Thermal discharges”, for example, the heat discharged into the environment by equipment or buildings, therefore represent an important source of energy.

The Rimouski City Council has understood this by recovering the heat generated by the compressors that cool the ice rink of its sports center to heat the water of the swimming pool located in the same building, illustrates Daniel Côté.

The UMQ would also like municipalities to be able to produce energies other than electricity, such as biofuels, green hydrogen, or “renewable” natural gas, that is, produced from organic matter or biomass.

This would require modifying the Municipal Powers Law which, according to the UMQ, limits the energy production of the municipalities to the production of electrical energy from renewable sources.

As with electricity, the local production of other types of energy is more advantageous, believes Daniel Côté.

“The closer the power source is to the consumer, the more compelling it is,” he says. Energy transportation problems and costs are eliminated. »

More information

  • fifty%
    Quebec targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions related to heating buildings, by 2030

    source: Québec Government Green Economy Plan

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