Hydro-Québec will expand its network to the Magdalen Islands

After the project to connect the Magdalen Islands to its main network was called into question due to its high cost, Hydro-Quebec changed its mind and established an underwater link between Percy and Cap au Mule.

Helen Barrell

Helen Barrell

The project, which could require a $1 billion investment, was announced on the spot Tuesday by Hydro-Quebec and Energy Minister Jonatan Julien.

“We are now convinced that the solution to connecting via submarine cables is now the most appropriate for the reality of the archipelago and will allow us to use the right energy in the right place,” the minister said.

The 225-kilometre submarine link that will connect the archipelago to the mainland will replace the oil-fired power plant that currently supplies electricity to Madelinots.

However, this plant will continue to be used during certain periods of high winter demand, but greenhouse gas emissions will decrease by 94%. Hydro-Québec has given assurances that 82 employees working at the plant will keep their jobs. Hydro-Quebec spokeswoman Cendrix Bouchard said several scenarios are possible, including remote work from the islands.

The project cost was estimated at 700 million in 2018. The discounted cost will be higher, says Hydro, which intends to submit a specific proposal to Régie de l’énergie this fall.

Connecting the islands to the mainland will also make it possible to deploy a fiber-optic link to provide a communications service, according to a formula that has not yet been determined.

Originally, the new link was supposed to be ready in 2025. The new schedule now states that work will start in 2025 and the link will be operational in 2027.

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