Hydro-Québec officially completes 1.55 GW Romaine hydroelectric complex

Hydro-Québec officially completes 1.55 GW Romaine hydroelectric complex
(photo courtesy Hydro-Quebec)

Hydro-Québec has officially inaugurated the 1.55 GW Romaine hydroelectric complex on the Romaine River in Quebec, Canada, with all four generating stations now commissioned.

Construction of the Romaine complex stretched from 2009 to 2023, with a total cost of $7.4 billion, or 14% less than the initial estimate. The complex has annual energy output of 8 TWh.

Construction of the Romaine-2 development began in 2009, and it was commissioned in 2014. The Romaine-1 development was commissioned in 2015 and Romaine-3 in 2017. The Romaine-4 development is now operational.

The resale price of 6.4 cents/kWh is also highly advantageous, especially given that the Romaine provides both energy and capacity—making it possible to balance variable generation from other renewable sources, such as wind and sun. 

The project generated economic spinoffs of $5.5 billion for Québec, including $1.4 billion for the region. It created an average of 975 jobs each year while the project was being carried out. Mitigation measures were implemented, including the creation of 60 hectares of new wetlands and the seeding of Atlantic salmon, lake trout and landlocked salmon. Environmental follow-ups will continue through to 2040 in collaboration with local partners, according to a release.

The Romaine project was unfortunately marked by the death of four workers, Hydro-Québec said. These accidents led the utility to thoroughly review and strengthen its health and safety practices. The completion of the Romaine complex would not have been possible without the contribution of all the men and women who worked there, Hydro-Québec said. In addition, the close collaboration of the Innu and Minganois communities enabled the company to adapt its practices to the realities of this vast territory.

“I am very proud to inaugurate the Romaine facilities, the largest hydropower complex since Baie-James, and a monument to Québec engineering,” said François Legault, Premier of Québec. “This project is essential for our energy future, allowing us to meet Québec’s industrial needs for the next 100 years! I am especially proud that this project was carried out in partnership with the Innu nation, two great forces working together. Thanks to visionaries Jean Lesage, René Lévesque and Robert Bourassa, Québec chose hydroelectricity, clean energy that puts us way out in front for the energy transition. We need to capitalize on this strength to create more wealth while emitting less GHGs.”

Hydro-Québec generates, transports and distributes electricity. It is Canada’s largest electricity producer and one of the largest hydroelectric producers in the world. Its sole shareholder is the Quebec government.

Originally published by Elizabeth Ingram in Hydro Review