Quebec has everything to economically benefit from the energy transition

By 3 December 2018 No Comments

California passed a law in May 2018 that will require all new construction to include solar panels by 2020. Washington DC and the states of New Jersey and Massachusetts are considering copying such regulations in their respective territories. These initiatives will greatly benefit the United States where 29% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) come from energy production, compared to 0.7% in Quebec.

In Quebec, the energy transition will not be at the level of production, but more at the level of energy use. If Quebec does not have to transform its modes of energy production, already being 99.8% renewable, more efforts must be put forward to accelerate the transition of energy consumption. The mobility sector is still highly dependent on fossil fuels and, in addition to the car fleet, rail transport and buses are still waiting for their modernization.

Transport electrification

The shift seems to have already begun. The Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM), which will almost double the size of the Montreal metro network in just five years with a revolutionary financing model, already seduces many other Western major cities. This project could be the flagship of the electrification of Quebec transportation.

Lion, a Saint-Jérôme company with more than 50% of its production dedicated to export, hopes to make our 100% electric school and urban bus fleets with innovative interchangeable battery technology that avoids charging delays.

The SAAQ-AVEQ statistics predicts that the number of electric vehicles on Quebec roads will rise from 24,000 in the summer of 2018 to 100,000 in 2020, on the path of reaching one million vehicles by 2030 – which would represent 20% of Quebec’s automobile fleet.

Already well established in the land transport sector with 31,900 jobs and $ 10.1 billion in annual sales, Québec is also developing an expertise in the electric transportation sector. According to the Government of Quebec, this sector is expected to reach 5,000 jobs and investments of $ 500 million by 2020.

« Internet of Energy »

With both transport and the Internet of Things (IoT), the massive electrification underway is unsurprisingly causing an increase in energy demand and thus additional pressure on the networks. Fortunately, the same technologies that drive up demand also make smarter energy management possible by better controlling energy demand peaks, for example.

Digitization and artificial intelligence help develop the Internet of Energy (IoE). According to the American economist Jeremy Rifkin, IoE is the infrastructure of the third industrial revolution. The IoE goes through the connectivity of all inputs and outputs of the energy system, from production plants to thermostats, through meteorological stations and the use of artificial intelligences to the prediction of energy consumption and production in real time.

The deployment of IoE is already underway and several Quebec companies, such as Casa Connect, have not missed the call. This Beloeil company offers a system of intelligent controllers that uses processes derived from artificial intelligence and big data to manage energy consumption in an intelligent and automatic way.

« Vehicle to Grid »

The electric vehicles allow the introduction of the concept of Vehicle to Grid (V2G) which offers the possibility of making the investment of a car (which will be still 96% of the time in average) profitable by selling at a high price on the grid at peak hours energy stored at low prices day and night by the battery. This practice also helps to dampen demand peaks on the grid by using fleet batteries as a colossal decentralized storage structure.

V2G is highly dependent on the performance of charging stations, technology for which Quebec is already developing expertise. AddÉnergie, a Quebec company, specializes in manufacturing and installing charging stations. Having already delivered more than 8000 terminals in Canada, including 1500 for Québec’s Circuit électrique. AddÉnergie aims for nothing less than securing 5% of the market share of its sector in the United States, while maintaining the manufacturing at its Shawinigan plant.

Economic potential for Québec

Quebec has all the resources to economically benefit from the energy transition. In addition to the substantial comparative advantage that is its abundant clean energy at low cost, Quebec also holds in its basement essential resources such as lithium for batteries and aluminum for electric cars, allowing it to be a leading player in the electrification of transport.

Quebec’s expertise in artificial intelligence and information technology are also huge assets to perform in the economy of tomorrow, considering the development potential in electric and autonomous cars, the IoE, the development of algorithms for forecasting the consumption and production of energy, the cyber-security of networks and the development of the necessary computer tools in anticipation of the future “energy market”.


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Author Ismaël Gueymard

Ismaël studied management at Paris-Dauphine University as well as in sociology and international management at the University of Quebec in Montreal. Trinational, he has acquired professional and academic experiences in Canada, the United States and France. Ismaël specializes in real estate, infrastructure and technology.

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