The province of Quebec is blessed with natural resources in the form of rivers and lakes that Hydro Quebec has damned to generate what is labelled as clean electricity. As a result of their resource benefits, their 2020 annual report notes their residential rate of 7.3 cents/kWh (kilowatt hour) are the “lowest in North America”! The report also states $3.6 billion was a “Contribution to the Quebec government’s revenue in 2020”.
Attempting to find the average rates for Ontario is almost impossible and depends on your LDC (local distribution company) and their charges for distribution, regulation etc. on top of the cost of generation. As one example Hydro One have several residential rate categories combined with TOU (time of use) metrics varying from a low of 13 cents/kWh to over 20 cents/kWh with the average in the range of 17 cents/kWh. Those costs naturally have an effect on per capita usage so for the 2020-year Ontarians consumed 139.5 terawatts (TW)* whereas Quebecers consumed 171.4 TW*. On a per capita basis Quebecers consumed just over 20 MW annually whereas it was less than half that in Ontario at about 9.5 MW.
Back in November 2020 Premier Legault announced a $6.7 billion five year plan to cut emissions. The main focus seemed to be aimed at banning all gas car sales in 2035 and electrification of 1.5 million vehicles, by 2030, including city buses (55%), taxis (40%) and school buses (65%)!
Those various EV will need those large batteries to power them and that means they will weigh more. As expected, the Ford Lightning weights 1,600 pounds more than an ICE powered Ford 150. That will presumably have more of an impact on the deterioration of asphalt meaning more frequent road repairs but where is that money going to come from? A large part of our gas taxes currently are slated for keeping our road and highways in reasonable shape but (to the best of my knowledge) those road repair taxes don’t apply to EV! The other issue is recycling those batteries as they “contain hazardous materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly” and “Currently, globally, it’s very hard to get detailed figures for what percentage of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, but the value everyone quotes is about 5%,” says Dr Anderson. “In some parts of the world it’s considerably less.”
As if to amplify the issues with those batteries they are much less effective in cold weather so will require more frequent charging during Quebec’s cold winters which is when their “peak demand” occurs so will Hydro Quebec need to restrict electricity use further? They already offer customers a “dynamic pricing” break for lowering consumption during 7 hours on a winter day. The number of EV registered in Quebec as of March 31, 2021 were 85,486 or 1.5% of over 5.8 million road vehicles (2019 stats) so if that increases to Premier Legault’s target of 1.5 million on the road by 2030 we should suspect Quebec will be severely restricting consumption and by then trying to figure out how to recycle the batteries.
It turns out some of those batteries will be manufactured in Quebec as PM Trudeau and Premier Legault in March 2021 got together and announced they would lend Lion Electric Co., a Montreal based manufacturer of electric trucks and buses $50 million each to establish a $185 million lithium-ion battery assembly plant in Quebec. Certain conditions would allow $30 million of that $100 million to be forgivable. Quebec’s Economy Minister, Pierre Fitzgibbon, stated “If we play our cards right, we could become world leaders in this market of the future,”
A Financial Post article about Lion Electric said; “The company went public this past May and has Power Corp as a major investor owning 36 per cent of Lion.” Just another epitome of the “Laurentian Elite”.
If one moves along to a week ago the news broke further about Lion Electric and how they received an order (conditional) for 1,000 electric school buses. Needless to say, that was big news and was carried extensively in various big and small media outlets. Reviewing several of them you find Lion is expanding south as an article in the Cantech site said; “Lion said the construction of a shell building at its Joliet, Illinois, manufacturing facility was 80 per cent complete and was expected to begin production during the second half of 2022.” One wonders will that site be supplying those “school buses”?
An article in Global News starts off with: “The Lion Electric Co. says it has received a conditional order for 1,000 electric school buses from Student Transportation of Canada, whose parent company is controlled by Quebec’s pension fund manager.” Hmm, all in the family!
So, it appears the “sainthood” sought by Legault and Trudeau by their attendance at COP 26 is being financed by the taxpayers of not only Quebec and the Federal Liberal government but also by the Alberta taxpayers. The latter provided the bulk of the equalization payments resulting in Quebec receiving $13.2 billion of the $22 billion Alberta coughed up in 2019 alone.
The Laurentian Elites love it but we should guess Albertans will hope all those 1.5 million EV charging their “made in Quebec” batteries will cause blackouts!
*Net of imports and exports.