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There's no energy crisis, says Fitzgibbon, contrary to what Skeete says

Quebec Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon speaks as the Quebec government announces the implantation of a green hydrogen train in the Charlevoix region, Thursday, February 2, 2023 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot Quebec Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon speaks as the Quebec government announces the implantation of a green hydrogen train in the Charlevoix region, Thursday, February 2, 2023 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
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There is no energy crisis in Quebec, according to Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, even though one of his colleagues argues otherwise.

Last week, Economy Minister Christopher Skeete spoke of an energy crisis in Quebec during a session in the National Assembly.

On Friday, the Liberal opposition accused the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government of lacking "clarity and vision" on future electricity needs, and Skeete replied that the Liberals, "also don't have an answer as to how we're going to solve Quebec's energy crisis."

"Energy crisis? No," Fitzgibbon clarified in a press scrum Wednesday morning before heading into question period.

"I think Quebec has the energy it needs," he said.

The minister added that the future needs of industries that have been identified exceed Hydro-Québec's current production capacity. However, he wanted to be reassuring for the future. "But we can manage that," he added.

The debate on Quebec's energy future has been going on since the election campaign, and it took a new turn with the premature departure in January of Hydro-Quebec president and CEO Sophie Brochu, followed by the departure of other executives of the Crown corporation. The opposition then spoke of a "crisis" at Hydro-Québec.

While Premier François Legault has spoken at length about Hydro-Québec and future energy needs, including at the end of his party's pre-session caucus in January, he has never used the term "crisis" to describe the current situation.

He has consistently referred to the need to build new dams to provide the electricity needed to decarbonize Quebec's economy, namely to reach zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a goal to be reached by 2050 in accordance with international commitments.

Legault ventured to estimate that four or five more dams would be needed to provide electricity, without saying where they would be erected, while Hydro-Quebec is still updating its list of rivers that have potential to be harnessed.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Feb. 15, 2023.

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