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Hydro Québec, Energy and the Environment Essay

The replacement of gas with electric streetlamps in Quebec was implemented by the Royal electric Company which covered the entire city as at 1889. The project was facilitated by Senator Rosaire Thibodeau with the financial backing of a prominent businessman, Mr. Rodolphe Forget. There was with time the development of nuclear power. The experimentation with nuclear power began from around 1965. Nuclear power was increasingly being considered the energy source of the future and all the major countries had embraced it, prompting Canada to do the same. The last hydroelectric project in the twentieth century was the Sainte-Marguerite-3.

This was built both a water reservoir and power generation head. The head is 330 meters long, making it a marvel. In 1998, Hydro Quebec decided to reinforce its transmission system. This was because in January of the same year, there had been a major ice storm that destroyed much of its Quebec distribution and transmission systems, exposing their vulnerability hence a need for reinforcement (History of Electricity in Quebec: Chaotic Growth of an Industry, n. d). On 7 February 2002, there was the signing of a historical agreement between the Grand Council at Crees and The state of Quebec.

This provided a basis for the building of two main generation systems, the Eastmain-1 and Eastmain-1-A on the Rupert River. According to the company’s management, many past studies have investigated the potential health effects of electric and magnetic fields on human beings. These have however been inconclusive hence the harm not fully established. It therefore calls for further research to clarify this while minimizing people’s exposure to them and committing the company to supporting the research (History of Electricity in Quebec: Chaotic Growth of an Industry, n. d). Renewable and Green

Hydroelectric power is not as green as required. This is because it contributes to mercury poisoning of water sources (Eisler, 1987). There is also a forced decomposition of the matter that is flooded, leading to production of carbon dioxide and Methane, both major greenhouse gases. Gas and coal are considered greener, but have lower performance. The greenhouse gases produced by Hydro-electric power are comparatively minimal. Hydropower produces a mere thirty-fifth of that by natural gas and a seventieth of that by a coal. The comparison is unjustified. This is because the ratio of waste product produced is less than the other sources.

The author calls for a comparison between the sources in terms of same costs hence superiority of hydroelectric power (Hydro Quebec Research: Publications and Documentation Centre, n. d). Hydro Quebec and Sustainability Hydro Quebec is also committed to the promotion of wind power as a source of energy. Its strategic plan proposes the creation of a 4000 Megawatt wind energy capacity by 2015. Between 2004 and 2005, there was the signing of purchase deals for wind power with its total Wind power capacity standing at 500 Megawatts. The company also planned to engage in gas and oil exploration specifically at the Gulf of St.

Lawrence and was seeking partners (Sustainable Development, n. d). The company promotes a reduction in electricity demand by enhancing efficiency in its use. This is done through awareness campaigns and investment in research and development. There is for instance investment in power-saving refrigerators and solar units. Hydro Quebec still retains one nuclear plant, the Gentilly-2 in the south of the Saint-Laurence River, producing about 2 per cent of the company’s electricity. Steps taken towards environmental protection include the minimization of atmospheric emissions.

This is achieved by supplying hydro electric power to neighboring United States which is known to mostly rely on generation fuel-generated electricity. It also advocates for the Kyoto Protocol on emissions and is frequently involved in environmental conservation campaigns and funding of environmental research. Hydro-Quebec also values aesthetics and therefore fully incorporates it in its facilities. In this, there is emphasis on good choice of material, landscaping and observation sites among others (Sustainable Development, n. d). References Eisler, R. (1987). Mercury Hazards to Fish, Wildlife and Inveterbrates: A Synoptic View.

Washington DC: US Department of the Interior. History of Electricity in Quebec: Chaotic Growth of an Industry. (n. d. ). Retrieved March 30, 2009, from Hydro Quebec: http://www. hydroquebec. com/learning/histoire/histoire_quebec/index_frame. html? ext_epoque=1 Hydro Quebec Research: Publications and Documentation Centre. (n. d. ). Retrieved March 30, 2009, from Hydro Quebec: http://www. hydroquebec. com/sustainable-development/documentation/documents. html Sustainable Development. (n. d) Retrieved March 30, 2009, from Hydro Quebec: http://www. hydroquebec. com/sustainable-development/index. html

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