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Unfavorable weather reduces Quebec hydropower, revenue

October 10, 2023

Hydro-Quebec is reducing electricity exports due to “unfavorable weather conditions.” The utility sources most of its energy supply from hydroelectric generating stations. In the long term, the decision does not impact on Quebec’s energy supply and commitments with neighboring markets, according to the release.

Less snowpack, less runoff

“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.

Long-term precipitation estimates & water storage

The company said it sometimes experiences drier periods in certain regions, hydraulicity being a cyclical phenomenon. Hydraulicity is a dam’s ability either to convey water or to withstand the ingress of water.

In the longer term, forecasts take into account climate change, suggesting an increase of 5% to 10% in precipitation in northern Quebec. The utility’s large reservoirs are located in the northern part of the province. In terms of water supply, the reservoirs store water over several years. Moreover, reservoirs throughout the utility’s territory ensure long-term water availability.

On an annual basis, revenues from April 2023 to March 2024 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.