New Connection to Quebec

An upgraded transmission line to Quebec has just been completed. From Hydro One: “Monday October 19th
at 2 p.m. the A41T and A42T (Hawthorne x Outaouais) circuits were declared ready for full commercial
transactions between Ontario and Quebec. This brings the full interconnection capacity to 1200 MW.”

The completion of this line greatly improves the flexibility of generators in Ontario. In times of surplus, power can be exported to Quebec, allowing them to run less water through their generators, thus storing water behind the the dam for later use. It’s actually even better than that, because it allows their dams to have higher head, so not only are you storing the energy you send to them, but you will get more out of them than you put in.

In times of shortage, we will be able to import power to meet demand.

1200 MW is a lot. In fact, it is more than the installed capacity of wind in Ontario today. In other words, this line can carry the full output of Ontario’s wind farms on the windiest of days, and store that energy for later use. In practice, it won’t work quite like that, as most of the time when it is windy, the simplest storage is just to stop burning coal, or burn less natural gas in our generation fleet. That lets us store the energy in the fossil fuel.

The extra 1200 MW is added to Ontario’s already considerable water storage capability. Ontario routinely ramps up water power during the day, and back down at night, to match demand. This swing in production can be 2-3,000 MW over the course of a day. Quebec’s storage is more than just a few days – their reservoirs have multi year storage capability.

Smart move building that line. It will not only allow Ontario to manage day to day, hour to hour, and seasonal swings in demand, but it will allow the same flexibility to work with similar variability in generator output. And that includes wind, nuclear and fossil shut downs, or line outages elsewhere in the system. If we use the Quebec link well, we will be able to reduce fossil fuel use, and improve system reliability at the same time.

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