Quebec premier inaugurates La Romaine hydroelectric complex

MONTREAL - Quebec Premier François Legault has inaugurated the la Romaine hydroelectric complex on the province's North Shore.

The newly inaugurated Romaine hydroelectric complex could serve as a model for future projects that are sorely needed in the province, Legault said.

"It brings me a lot of pride. It is truly the symbol of Quebec ingenuity," he said as he opened the vast power plant.

Legault was accompanied at today's event by Jean Charest, who was Quebec premier when construction began in 2009, as well as Hydro-Québec president and CEO Michael Sabia. 

La Romaine is comprised of four power stations and is the largest hydro project constructed in the province since the Robert Bourassa generation facility, which was commissioned in 1979. It is the biggest hydro installation since the James Bay project. 

The construction work for Romaine-4 was supposed to finish in 2020, but it was delayed the COVID-19 pandemic, the death of four workers due to security flaws and soil decomposition problems. 

The $7.4-billion la Romaine complex can produce eight terawatt hours of electricity per year, enough to power nearly 470,000 homes.

It generates its power from the Romaine River, located north of Havre-St-Pierre, Que., near the Labrador border.

Legault said that Quebec still doesn't have enough electricity to meet demand from industry, and Quebecers need to consider more ways to boost the province's ability to power future projects. The premier has said previously that demand is expected to surge by an additional 100 terawatt-hours by 2050 — half the current annual output of the provincially owned utility.

Legault's environmental plan of reducing greenhouse gases and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 hinges on increased electrification, so the electricity needs for transport and industry will be massive.

An updated strategic plan from Hydro-Quebec will be presented in November outlining those needs, president and CEO Michael Sabia told reporters on Thursday.

Legault said the report will trigger a broader debate on energy transition and how the province can be a leader in the green economy. He said he wasn't ruling out any potential power sources — except for a return to nuclear power.


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