Provincial and Territorial Energy Profiles – Quebec
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Figure 1: Electricity Generation by Fuel Type (2018)
Source and Description:
This pie chart shows electricity generation by source in Quebec. A total of 213.7 TW.h of electricity was generated in 2018.
Figure 2: Electricity Capacity and Primary Fuel Sources Map
Source and Description:
CER, Natural Resources Canada
This map shows electricity generation facilities in Quebec. Facilities are shown by capacity and by primary fuel source.
PDF version [1960 KB]
Figure 3: Crude Oil Infrastructure Map
Source and Description:
This map shows all major crude oil pipelines, rail lines, and refineries in Quebec.
PDF version [607 KB]
Figure 4: Natural Gas Infrastructure Map
Source and Description:
This map shows all major natural gas pipelines in Quebec.
PDF version [923 KB]
Figure 5: End-Use Demand by Sector (2017)
Source and Description:
This pie chart shows end-use energy demand in Quebec by sector. Total end-use energy demand was 1 770 PJ in 2017. The largest sector was industrial at 39% of total demand, followed by transportation (at 30%), residential (at 20%), and lastly, commercial (at 10%).
Figure 6: End-Use Demand by Fuel (2017)
Source and Description:
This figure shows end-use demand by fuel type in Quebec in 2017. Refined petroleum products accounted for 710 PJ (40%) of demand, followed by electricity at 627 PJ (35%), natural gas at 252 PJ (15%), biofuels at 162 PJ (8%), and other at 19 PJ (1%).
Note: "Other" includes coal, coke, and coke oven gas.
Figure 7: GHG Emissions by Sector
Source and Description:
This stacked column graph shows GHG emissions in Quebec by sector every five years from 1990 to 2017 in MT of CO2e. Total GHG emissions have decreased in Quebec from 87.1 MT of CO2e in 1990 to 77.0 MT of CO2e in 2017.
- Quebec does not have any commercial crude oil production.
Refined Petroleum Products (RPPs)
- Two large refineries currently operate in Quebec with a combined capacity of 372 thousand barrels per day (Mb/d): Montreal Refinery (Suncor) in Montreal and Jean Gaulin Refinery (Valero) in Lévis, near Quebec City. Montreal Refinery has a capacity of 137 Mb/d and Jean Gaulin Refinery has a capacity of 235 Mb/d.
- Supply for Quebec’s refineries prior to 2013 was a mix of crude oil from eastern Canada and offshore imports from Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. After 2013, use of crude oil from western Canada and the United States (U.S.) began increasing because of higher crude-by-rail deliveries, changes to pipeline infrastructure (Enbridge’s Line 9B reversal in 2015), and higher production in the U.S.
Natural Gas/Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs)
- There is no natural gas production or field production of NGLs in Quebec.
- In 2011, Quebec passed the Act to limit oil and gas activities. Under this Act, oil and gas activities in the St. Lawrence River upstream of Anticosti Island and on the islands situated in that part of the river were prohibited. For land-based activities, the licence holder was exempted from performing the exploration work required and the term of such licences was suspended, to allow time to conduct a strategic environmental study on shale gas. In 2014, legislation passed in 2011 was extended until new legislation governing oil and gas exploration in the province was introduced. In 2016, Quebec’s National Assembly passed Bill 106, which created the Act to implement the 2030 Energy Policy and to amend various legislative provisions. In 2018, amendments to this Act were proposed to ban hydraulic fracking province-wide and to adopt other measures throughout Quebec, such as regulating drilling activities near urban centres. These changes died on the order paper when the provincial election was called.
- In 2017, the Quebec government stopped oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island in order to support Anticosti’s bid for the UNESCO World Heritage.
- A biomethanization plant, capable of producing 2.3 million cubic metres of renewable natural gas (RNG) per year, is being developed by the agricultural cooperative Coop Agri-Énergie Warwick. Construction of the facility will begin in the spring of 2020, with the plant to be commissioned in the fall of 2020.
- Small volumes of propane and butane are produced by refineries in Quebec.
- In 2018, Quebec generated 213.7 terawatt hours (TW.h) of electricity (Figure 1), which is approximately one third of total Canadian generation. Quebec is the largest producer of electricity in Canada and has a generating capacity of 46 176 megawatts (MW).
- With over 40 853 MW of installed capacity, hydroelectric stations generate about 95% of Quebec’s electricity. This includes Canada’s largest power plant, the 5 616 MW Robert-Bourassa facility in northern Quebec, which is currently under rehabilitation until 2022. Another major hydroelectric station, the Romaine Complex, is currently under construction on the La Romaine River in Côte-Nord. When completed, it will have a capacity of 1 550 MW from four generating stations. Romaine-1 (270 MW), Romaine-2 (640 MW), and Romaine-3 (395 MW) are already in-service. The final station, Romaine-4 with 245 MW capacity is expected to be online in 2021.
- Wind is the 2nd largest source of electricity generation in Quebec. In 2018, wind capacity reached 4 096 MW and accounted for 4% of the province’s generating capacity. The last wind farm to be commissioned was Mont Sainte-Marguerite, with a generating capacity of 143 MW in March 2018. The 225 MW Nicolas-Riou wind farm was also commissioned in 2018.
- Other sources of electricity generation include natural gas (mainly for peak winter demand), diesel (for power in remote communities), and biomass.
- Hydro-Québec generates most of the electricity in the province, including electricity from 62 hydroelectric plants. Independent power producers operate several smaller hydroelectric plants, as well as all of the biomass and wind facilities.
- Significant rehabilitation of multiple generating stations are planned in the coming years, including of the Beauharnois generating station, the Robert-Bourassa station, and other projects. These projects aim to increase the long-term operational reliability and energy performance of Quebec’s hydro facilities.
Energy Transportation and Trade
Crude Oil and Liquids
- Quebec receives crude oil by Enbridge’s Line 9, by rail, and by tanker (Figure 2). Quebec can also receive crude oil by the Portland-Montreal Pipeline, but throughputs on the pipeline have been very low since 2016.
- Line 9 has been delivering crude oil from Sarnia, Ontario to Montreal since its reversal became operational in December 2015. The line has a capacity of 300 Mb/d and transports a combination of oil from western Canada and the U.S. Midwest.
- In 2018, deliveries of imported and eastern Canadian crude oil on the Portland-Montreal Pipeline fell to an average 2.5 Mb/d, less than 1% of its capacity.
- There are three rail terminals in Quebec capable of receiving crude oil shipments, including one at each of the Suncor and Valero refineries, and one at Sorel-Tracy. These facilities have a combined capacity to receive approximately 123 Mb/d of crude oil.
- Quebec receives crude oil via tankers arriving at Montreal and Lévis.
- The Trans-Northern Pipeline delivered approximately 170 Mb/d of RPPs in 2018, including gasoline, diesel, aviation fuel, and heating fuel from Montreal to markets in Ontario.
- Valero’s Saint-Laurent Pipeline has a capacity of 100 Mb/d and delivers RPPs from the Valero refinery in Lévis to a distribution terminal in east Montreal.
- The Trans-Quebec and Maritimes (TQM) pipeline connects to TC Energy’s Canadian Mainline at the Ontario border near Ottawa. TQM transports natural gas for use in Quebec as well as for export through an interconnection with the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System at East Hereford. (Figure 3)
- Historically, Quebec was a consumer of western Canadian natural gas. More recently, growing gas production in the U.S., reversal of export points in Ontario, and additional interconnects between Ontario and Quebec, have enabled higher deliveries of U.S. gas into Quebec.
- Énergir (formerly Gaz Métro) distributes gas to approximately 300 municipalities on over
10 000 kilometres (km) of pipelines. Enbridge Gazifère operates 987 km of pipelines and serves the Outaouais region. Energir and Gazifère are provincially regulated by the Régie de l’énergie.
Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG)
- Énergir has operated a liquefaction, storage, and regasification plant east of Montreal since 1971. Énergir expanded the plant’s capacity in 2017 to help meet growing demand for LNG in the road and marine transportation markets, as well as remote regions isolated from the natural gas network.
- In 2015, the NEB approved a 25-year export licence for Stolt LNGaz for volumes of up to 80 MMcf/d. The project has also received provincial government approvals. A final investment decision has not yet been made on the project, which includes a proposed liquefaction terminal near Bécancour.
- In 2016, the NEB (now CER) approved an application from GNL Quebec for a 25-year export licence for its proposed Énergie Saguenay LNG export facility near Saguenay. The LNG facility will require a new gas pipeline linking it to the Canadian Mainline in Ontario, making it possible to source gas from western Canada. The proposed 750 km natural gas pipeline is being developed by Gazoduq Inc.
- In 2018, Quebec’s net electricity interprovincial and international outflows were 3.4 TW.h. Under long-term contracts, Hydro-Québec has access to almost all the output of the 5 428 MW Churchill Falls hydroelectric station in Labrador until 2041.
- Quebec also trades with electricity markets in the U.S. Northeast, primarily New England and New York. In 2018, Quebec was the largest exporter of electricity to the U.S. of all Canadian provinces.
- In 2019, Hydro-Québec operated 34 802 km of transmission lines and 225 304 km of distribution lines. Fifteen interconnections link Quebec’s electricity system with systems in Ontario, New Brunswick, and the U.S. Northeast.
- The proposed Appalaches-Maine Interconnection Project aims to increase the electricity exchange capacity between Quebec and New England through 100 km of new 320-kilovolt direct-current line. The project is currently working towards government approvals. Commissioning of the line is scheduled for 2022.
Energy Consumption and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
Total Energy Consumption
- End-use demand in Quebec was 1 770 petajoules (PJ) in 2017. The largest sector for energy demand was industrial at 39% of total demand, followed by transportation at 30%, residential at 20%, and commercial at 10% (Figure 5). Quebec’s total energy demand was the 3rd largest in Canada, and the 9th largest on a per capita basis.
- RPPs were the largest fuel type consumed in Quebec, accounting for 710 PJ, or 40% of the total. Electricity and natural gas accounted for 627 PJ (35%) and 252 PJ (14%), respectively (Figure 6).
Refined Petroleum Products
- The majority of the gasoline consumed in Quebec is refined in the province. However, some gasoline is imported from the U.S. East Coast and Europe, or transferred from the Maritimes.
- Quebec is the 2nd largest market in Canada for RPPs, after Ontario. Total 2018 demand for RPPs in Quebec was 381 Mb/d, or 20% of total Canadian RPP demand. Of Quebec’s total demand, 180 Mb/d was for motor gasoline and 85 Mb/d was for diesel.
- Quebec’s per capita RPP consumption in 2018 was 2 682 litres (17 barrels), or 12% below the national average of 3 038 litres per capita.
- In 2018, Quebec consumed an average of 591 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of natural gas. Quebec’s demand represented 5% of total Canadian demand for natural gas in 2018.
- Quebec’s largest consuming sector for natural gas was the industrial sector, which consumed 373 MMcf/d in 2018. The commercial and residential sectors consumed 153 MMcf/d and 64 MMcf/d, respectively.
- In 2017, annual electricity consumption per capita in Quebec was 21 megawatt hours (MW.h). Quebec ranked 1st in Canada for per capita electricity consumption and consumed 44% more than the national average. This is largely due to the presence of some industries, such as aluminum smelters, which rely on large amounts of low-cost electricity. The majority of residents in Quebec also use electricity to heat their homes.
- Quebec’s largest consuming sector for electricity in 2017 was industrial at 84.1 TW.h. The residential and commercial sectors consumed 66.6 TW.h and 23 TW.h, respectively. Quebec’s electricity demand has declined 1% since 2005.
- Quebec’s GHG emissions in 2017 were 77.9 megatonnes (MT) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e)Footnote 1. Quebec’s emissions have declined 9% since 1990.
- Quebec’s emissions per capita are the lowest in Canada at 9.4 tonnes CO2e – 52% below the Canadian average of 19.6 tonnes per capita.
- The largest emitting sectors in Quebec are transportation at 41% of emissions, heavy industries (including smelting, cement, and chemicals) at 25%, and buildings (residential and commercial) at 14% (Figure 7).
- Quebec’s GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector in 2017 were 2.1 MT CO2e. Of this total, 0.1 MT were attributable to transmission and 2.0 MT were attributable to petroleum refining and natural gas distribution.
- Virtually all of the electricity produced in Quebec comes from renewable sources, approximately 99%. In 2017, Quebec’s power sector generated 0.3 MT CO2e emissions, which represents 0.4% of Canada’s GHG emissions from power generation.
- La Régie de l’énergie du Québec
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- CER – Market Snapshot: Ontario and Quebec are among the leaders in North American wind power capacity
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- CER – Market Snapshot: Quebec-Ontario power-sharing agreement support nuclear refurbishments
- CER – Market Snapshot: Wind continues to gain power in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta in 2014
Provincial & Territorial Energy Profiles aligns with CER’s latest Canada’s Energy Future 2019 datasets. Energy Future uses a variety of data sources, generally starting with Statistics Canada data as the foundation, and making adjustments depending on individual province/territory circumstances. Adjustments are necessary to ensure consistency and comparability across provinces/territories.
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