Sustainable Quebec

Last Updated: 28 Jan 2021
Pages: 4 Views: 25

In a world in which we are always depleting our natural resources further and further every day, countries need to develop ways in which they can heavily reduce, or eliminate, their dependence on these limited resources. Studies show that the world's supply of conventional oil will only last another 42 to 93 years; we need to develop plans to eliminate our dependence on this fossil fuel before we run out. In order to accomplish this task, a country needs to find ways to create, harvest, or discover new sources of energy that can be used to power our communities. Along with using new technology to create new sources of energy, we also need to work towards cutting back on current energy usage. One great way to figure out such a plan is to look at cities that are already on their way to accomplishing this task. One such city is Quebec, Canada.

Quebec, Canada is the 7th largest city in Canada. It's population as of 2006 is 715,515 residents. It's located just over 500 miles north of New York City. Quebec is one of the most sustainable countries in all of North America. This is primarily due to one of its largest companies; Hydro-Quebec. Hydro-Quebec is an electric company that primarily relies on hydropower to create its energy. It has managed to accomplish an amazing feat by reducing its dependence on fossil fuels. Hydro-Quebec is a big believer in environmental sustainability. They have considered all aspects involved, including air quality, water quality, vegetation control, bio-diversity, eliminating contamination, improving the quality of life, managing electric and magnetic fields, managing nuclear power, using resources wisely, overseeing environmental initiatives, and ensuring environmental acceptability, all while still striving to be as independent as possible from the use of fossil fuels. I will be talking about just a few of these in order to convey their efforts and dedication to the environment.

Hydro-Quebec has accomplished something remarkable. Quebec's main source of power is hydro-power making up a whopping 94% of its total energy supply. Only 4% of Quebec is powered by oil, 1.8% by nuclear power, and 0.2% is powered by other means of energy. This is simply amazing as hydro-power is a completely renewable source of energy. The way that water is used to create electricity is a very simple process. Hydro-Quebec has made good use of many of its surrounding rivers. Turbines are placed along these rivers which use the constant flow of the water to turn them. The turbines are hooked up to a gear system which through the turning of these turbines create energy which is then fed into the power grid and delivered back to businesses and households. One may think that this would create eyesores at all of Quebec's rivers, but in all actuality Hydro-Quebec only uses 2% of all of Quebec's rivers in order to produce this electricity. Now that you know how Hydro-Quebec creates its energy, let's look at how it ensures sustainability.

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Air quality is one of the biggest issues when it comes to sustainability. Almost every form of power generation emits green house gases (GHG). These gases destroy our air quality and contribute to destruction of the Ozone layer, and an increase to global temperatures worldwide. By using hydro-power, Hydro-Quebec has cut their GHG emissions by a great deal. Every resident of Quebec produces one-half the GHG emissions of the average Canadian citizen, and one-sixth of Alberta's citizens.

When comparing Hydro-Quebec's atmospheric emissions to that of its neighboring systems (New England, NY State, Ontario, and New Brunswick) it is drastically lower. Using the measurement of tons per terawatt hours, Hydro-Quebec emits 16,104 of carbon dioxide (CO2) compared to the neighboring system with 366,660. When it comes to sulphur dioxide (SO2), Hydro-Quebec emits 75, with the neighboring system emitting 1,271. And finally for nitrogen oxides (NOx), Hydro-Quebec emits, 29 compared to the systems, 455. These results clearly speak for themselves and show Hydro-Quebec's dedication to promoting high air quality.

Another very important aspect of achieving sustainability is bio-diversity. With the use of natural rivers and streams there is obviously the risk of affecting aquatic wildlife. Hydro-Quebec has made valiant efforts to ensure minimal impact on these plants and animals. To operate their company Hydro-Quebec must build dams, generation stations, power lines, and substations, and in doing so wildlife protection must be considered. This is why Hydro-Quebec has taken measures to build and maintain their facilities in a way that has the least impact on fauna, flora and habitats. They also carry out initiatives to preserve biodiversity on their properties. Specific examples include creating solutions to benefit the following animals: Bald Eagle, Brook Trout, Eels, Lake Sturgeon, Mayapple, Shad, and Water Fowl. By protecting, and promoting the growth of these animals, Hydro-Quebec is playing a major part in increasing its city's bio-diversity, and getting just one step closer to a fully sustainable city.

Now that we have discussed how Hydro-Quebec is leading the way in Quebec to sustainability, we need to look at what the rest of the city is doing. Quebec's government as a whole is also doing their part to ensure the success of their future. Plans are in the works with Transportation-Quebec to improve all public means of transportation while ensuring public safety and convenience. Quebec has also partnered with the World Tourism Organization (WTO) to promote eco-tourism amongst its visitors. Along with their transportation industry, Loto-Quebec (Quebec's lottery program) is also doing their social part of having sustainability plans in place. There are many more companies, and organizations within Quebec that contribute to their sustainability, however I would have to go on for days in order to touch bases on all of them.

It is rather apparent that Quebec has sustainability high in their priorities. Between running a full scale hydro-powered electric plant, and through organizing numerous projects with every aspect of Quebec's government and businesses, as a city, they are one of the most sustainable in North America. Considering all their results and performance, other cities looking to further their sustainability, should look to Quebec for ideas, guidance, and motivation.

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Sustainable Quebec. (2017, Aug 28). Retrieved from

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