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Unfavorable weather reduces Quebec hydropower, revenue

October 10, 2023

Hydro-Quebec is reducing electricity exports due to “unfavorable weather conditions” as most of its energy supply is sourced from hydroelectric generating stations.

“Sparse snow cover in late winter, lower-than-normal spring floodwaters, and modest precipitation (over the) summer in northern Quebec reduced the water supply to the reservoirs.” To optimize existing water resources, Hydro-Québec has decided to reduce short-term market exports.

In the long term, the decision does not impact on Quebec’s energy supply and commitments with neighboring markets, according to the release.

In terms of water supply, Hydro-Québec reservoirs store water over several years. In addition, the reservoirs are dispersed over an immense territory, ensuring water availability.

The company said it sometimes experiences drier periods in certain regions, hydraulicity being a cyclical phenomenon. In the longer term, forecasts taking into account climate change suggest an increase of 5% to 10% in precipitation in northern Quebec, where the utility’s large reservoirs are located.

On an annual basis from April 2023 to March 2024, revenues from Hydro-Québec are expected to be $650 million lower than previously forecast due to a reduction in electricity export volumes, according to a 9/29/2023 press release.

As the utility’s sole shareholder, the Quebec government is anticipating a drop in government revenue.

KISTERS supports hydropower generation with the provision of hydromet monitoring instruments and analytical software to record real-time observations and supply quality-assured inputs to energy forecasting models. With significant changes in water, weather and the environment, our hydropower solutions portfolio has evolved to include up to 14-day radar rainfall forecasts and web-based optimization software to help hydro operators overcome increasing operational challenges.