Ontario and Quebec’s electricity systems would mesh well. Quebec has its largest surplus capacity in summer when demand in Ontario peaks thanks to air conditioning. Quebec uses more power in winter to heat homes and buildings when Ontario demand is lower and wind power resources are higher. But even if these demand patterns shift due to growing electrification, Quebec still can provide power even on its handful of high-demand winter days by investing in energy efficiency and wind power.
Quebec is also ideally suited to act like a giant battery for fluctuating renewable energy sources like solar and wind in both provinces. Its massive hydro reservoir system can store water when other power sources are available and then release that water later to generate electricity when other sources are less available. An MIT study found that combining Quebec’s hydro power system with other renewable power sources was a very cost-effective way to make intermittent energy sources like solar and wind “firm” 24/7 sources of power.
Quebec also has massive wind power potential and could also free up billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity for export by improving energy efficiency throughout the province, helping Quebec businesses and electricity consumers while also helping its neighbours.
According to one study, Quebec could free up 30 billion kWh of electricity per year through energy efficiency (where Ontario can offer services and technology thanks to its previous leadership in pursuing energy efficiency). Even more remarkably, Quebec is estimated to have the capacity to produce 300 billion kWh of hydro-backed (firm) wind power, which is more than double Ontario’s total annual electricity demand.