NOTE Quebec (248-257).docx

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Western University
Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

Chapter 6: Quebec Key Topic: Hydro Quebec  Hydro Quebec has been central to strategy of shaping province’s industrial economy by harnessing the province’s vast water resources and arranging long term sales to utilities in New England  This has pursued two goals—(1) economic: this has been to stimulate economic growth through state intervention in the marketplace (2) political: to increase Quebec’s public and private ownership of its economy within the francophone business of the community; this strategy has been very successful  Another spinoff was the breakthrough transmission technology that enabled Hydro-Quebec to transmit electrical power from Churchill falls and James Bay to markets in Southern Quebec and New England with acceptable levels of electric leakage  Hydro Q’s next plan in the harnessing of the Romaine River; cost about 65 billion and construction will extend of 10 year period; it will enable HQ to secure Quebec’s energy future and to increase its exports to markets outside quebec  Hydro Quebec’s Industrial Strategy o Vast electrical power generated by the James Bay project provided the provincial gov’t with an opportunity to attract energy-hungry industries into S. Quebec by offering them special, low electricity rates, and to export surplus power to energy hungry utilities in NewEngland o Such an industrial strategy takes on the spatial form of the core/periphery model where the hinterland supplies the energy for industrial users in the core o Hydro Quebec is able to provide industrial firms with low cost energy for three reasons:  Northern Quebec can produce vast quantities of low cost electrical power  Hydro Quebec has a long term contract to buy power from Churchill falls in Labrador at 1969 prices  HQ has control over its price structure and can set extremely low power rates for its industrial customers  Hydro Quebec’s James Bay Project o This massive project calls for the production of hydroelectricity form all the rivers that flow into James Bay from Quebec territory; started 1971 by Premier Robert Bourassa o Divided into three separate river basins (La Grande, Great Whale, and the Nottaway-Broadback-Eastmain-Rupert basins) o Project involved 20 rivers and affects an area one fifth the size of Quebec o La Grande Project was first phase (1972); involved diverting waters from three other rivers into La Grande river o First phase raised considerable controversy; it evoked an unprecedented response from Aboriginal people and environmental organizations; resulted in unexpected high level mercury in the reservoirs which was problem for the Cree who consume fish from there daily; this problem said to diminish over time, but is still there o Second phase
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