Energy for Export and the Romaine River Hydroelectric Complex in Québec
by admin ~ November 20th, 2008
The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environment du Québec (BAPE) will soon begin Phase II of its public consultations on the Romaine Hydroelectric Complex Project. Located in the Lower North Coast of Québec, the Romaine River flows 300 km from the border with Labrador to the St. Lawrence Seaway. Hydro-Québec is a public utility, and the proposed hydroelectric complex seeks to expand existing energy capacity for Provincial and industrial uses, and also generate electricity for export to lucrative energy markets in Vermont and New York. The proposed development includes four separate generating stations (producing 1,550 MW of energy), 200 km of access roads, a 500 km transmission corridor, and impoundments covering 279 km of the river.
Several groups are mounting an opposition to the project (Fondation Rivières, Alliance Romaine, and others), and raise concerns about the renewable energy portfolio of Hydro Québec, economic justifications for the project, adequate protections for wildlife and game, impact to endangered woodland caribou populations, loss of habitat for Atlantic Salmon, long term mercury contamination, greenhouse gas emissions, and impact to the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve at the mouth of the river.
Three public hearings are scheduled for December, and the final report is due in February. The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environment du Québec (BAPE) made its announcement of Phase II consultations on November 10. The deadline for oral submissions to the Panel expired four days later on November 14, and written submissions can be made by November 27, 2008.
For more information:
- Map of area.
- Written submission instructions: Phase II Public Hearing (due date by Nov 27, 2008).
- Environmental Impact Study Summary, PDF (in French only).
- Romaine Hydroelectric Complex Project: Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency site and BAPE site.
- Assembly of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL): “The AFNQL reminds that the [Romaine Hydroelectric Complex] project is situated on a territory that the Innus never parted with” (Press Release, September 17, 2008).
- Sierra Club Québec: Petition to oppose the Romaine Hydroelectric Complex.
- News stories: “Hydro-Québec targets energy for export in $25-billion plan” (May 05, 2006), “Environment? Economics? Hydro-Québec project fails grade ” (August 14, 2008),”Canadian Groups Battle Large-Scale Hydropower Bound for U.S. Electricity Markets” (August 20, 2008), “Not easy being green: hydropower demand shapes future of Quebec’s Romaine River” (Oct 12, 2008), “The Endangered River” (Oct. 26, 2008), “Only the brave gamble with Hydro-Quebec” (Sept. 27, 2008), “More hearings on La Romaine River needed” (Nov. 03, 2008), “Projet hydroélectrique de la rivière Romaine – Roy Dupuis reproche à Hydro-Québec d’avoir acheté l’appui des élus régionaux” (Nov. 12, 2008), “Charest wants to supercharge Hydro-Québec” (Nov. 14, 2008). “Quebecers need the facts on Romaine hydro project” (Nov. 16, 2008), “BAPE taking heat on Romaine River Project” (Nov. 18, 2008).
- Press Release: “Hydro-Québec confirms that Romaine project is situated entirely within territory of Québec“, (Feb. 11, 2009), “The Romaine Project is located entirely on Innu Territory” (Feb. 12, 2009).
- News: “River’s out of sight, not out of mind” (Dec. 01, 2008).
- BAPE Panel Report (March 05, 2009): Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency press release and documents.
- CBC: “Romaine hydro project OK’d by environment board” (March 06, 2009).
- Quebec Government: “The Romaine Hydroelectric Complex – Premier Charest launches largest construction project in Canada” (May 13, 2009).
- Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador: “The Romaine Project is located in the Heart of Innu Territory – This territory is encumbered by Aboriginal and Ancestral Rights“, PDF (May 13, 2009).