Industrial Visits

Industrial Visit to Hydropower Plants


Hydro-Québec generates, transmits and distributes electricity, mainly using renewable energy sources, in particular hydroelectricity. It is one of the biggest electric utilities in North America. It also conducts research in energy-related fields and takes an active interest in energy efficiency. In addition, it works to create value from the technologies that emerge from its research.

Its sole shareholder is the Québec government. By law, the Generator supplies the Distributor with an annual heritage pool of electricity. Above that volume, the Distributor obtains its supplies on the open market. Transmission and distribution activities are regulated. The company comprises four divisions:

 Hydro-Québec Production: Hydro-Québec Production generates and wholesales power on domestic and and external markets.

 Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie: Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie operates the most extensive transmission system in North America for the benefit of customers inside and outside Québec.

 Hydro-Québec Distribution: Hydro-Québec Distribution provides Quebecers with a reliable supply of electricity. To meet needs beyond the annual heritage pool supplied by Hydro-Québec Production, it obtains supplies on open markets. It also works to encourage its customers to make efficient use of electricity.

 Hydro-Québec Équipement: A subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, are the prime contractors in construction projects for Hydro-Québec Production and Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie.

The Hydro-Québec trading floor: Since 2000, Hydro-Québec Production has been active on wholesale power markets via an energy trading floor with approximately 100 employees. In addition to supplying the heritage pool of electricity to Hydro-Québec Distribution, the trading floor works to create value from our generating assets by selling surplus power and carrying out purchase/resale transaction on spot markets outside Québec. Our reservoirs enable us to purchase and store electricity and then resell it at a higher price. The trading floor also handles forward contracts and electricity swaps and implements various arbitrage strategies to benefit from favourable price variances between markets.

The Hydro-Québec System control Unit: In August 14, 2007, the Régie de l’énergie designated the Direction – Contrôle des mouvements d’énergie (System Control unit) of Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie as the Reliability Coordinator for Québec. That decision was the first step in implementing a new regime of mandatory reliability standards in Québec, pursuant to the Québec government’s adoption of Bill 52 amending the Act respecting the Régie de l’énergie. Under the new framework, the Régie now has watchdog powers over the application of mandatory reliability standards for planning and operating electrical transmission systems, including the power to designate the Reliability Coordinator for Québec.

Rehabilitation of Beauharnois Generating Station: A number of rehabilitation projects to extend the service life of Beauharnois, Québec’s fifth-largest power station, are scheduled to run until 2013. The projects include work on the generating units and the building.


Société d’énergie de la Baie James (SEBJ), which is a subsidiary of Hydro Québec, created in 1971 by the Société de développement de la Baie James (SDBJ). With over 30 years’ experience in large-scale projects, SEBJ offers a complete range of services in generation and transmission plant engineering, project management and construction. Over the years, SEBJ has also developed particular expertise in remote areas and multicultural environments, as evidenced by its role as prime contractor for one of the largest hydroelectric developments in the world—the «La Grande» complex in the heart of northern Québec—which supplies over 50% of the electricity generated by Hydro-Québec. This was further demonstrated in the Peruvian Andes, where SEBJ personnel constructed a 220-kV transmission line at altitudes of 4,000 metres or more. Every project presents major challenges, and SEBJ has the qualified people to meet them. Part of the considerable know-how SEBJ has accumulated over the years rests on the solid relationships it has forged with the people affected by its projects. Developing business partnerships and working in close cooperation with the Cree, Inuit and Peruvian communities, for example, as well as working to maximize regional economic spinoffs, all attest to SEBJ expertise in this area. As master builders, SEBJ personnel are high-calibre professionals. A multidisciplinary team oversees the completion of every phase of a project, from draft-design, detail engineering, procurement and construction management to environmental monitoring and follow-up.


Ontario Power Authority
Since its formation in 2004, the Ontario Power Authority has played a leading role in helping to develop the province’s energy plan. As a result, Ontario residents and businesses are enjoying the benefits of a reliable and sustainable electricity system. The supply of power is assured even as dirty coal-fired generation is being eliminated in favour of cleaner energy sources. As well, Ontario has the most ambitious conservation targets in North America and has implemented the most comprehensive Feed-In Tariff renewable-energy program on the continent.

Toronto Hydro–Electric System Limited (Toronto Hydro)
Toronto Hydro–Electric System Limited is the regulated “wires” affiliate of Toronto Hydro Corporation and is one of the largest municipal electric distribution utilities in Canada. Toronto Hydro ensures the safe and reliable delivery of electrical power to approximately 696,000 residential, commercial and industrial customers across the City of Toronto. This represents 18 per cent of electricity consumers in the province of Ontario. Toronto Hydro plans, maintains and operates Toronto’s electrical distribution system infrastructure safely, efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner. Toronto Hydro leads Ontario in the design and delivery of electricity Conservation and Demand Management (CDM) programs. The electricity system in Ontario begins with generation and ends at the delivery to customers. Electricity is generated from a number of sources: coal, nuclear, hydroelectric energy, natural gas and alternative sources such as renewable.

The Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)
The IESO balances the supply of and demand for electricity in Ontario and then directs its flow across the province’s transmission lines. The IESO works at the heart of Ontario’s power system, connecting all participants – generators that produce electricity, transmitters that send it across the province, retailers that buy and sell it, industries and businesses that use it in large quantities and local distribution companies that deliver it to people’s homes. Every five minutes, the IESO forecasts consumption throughout the province and collects the best offers from generators to provide the required amount of electricity. This allows customers to see prices fluctuate based on supply and demand. As a result, they can shift consumption away from peaks in demand to times when the price is lower. The IESO monitors the system and identifies what is required to maintain reliability in the future, reporting on these recommendations through regular publications. In its quarterly 18-month forecasts of the growth in demand for electricity, the IESO assesses whether there will be adequate generation and transmission facilities. In addition, the IESO prepares the semi-annual Ontario Reliability Outlook, which reports on the progress of interrelated generation, transmission and demand-side projects underway to meet Ontario’s reliability requirements. The IESO co-ordinates emergency preparedness for the province’s electricity system and played a key role in managing the restoration of power following the August 2003 blackout. The IESO continues to work with other stakeholders to evolve the market for the benefit of all. Further enhancements will strengthen the market, enhance reliability and provide Ontarians with greater access to information about their power system.

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