Private electricity producers should be able to sell their energy directly to businesses that need it now that Hydro-Quebec no longer supplies on demand, says the Montreal Economic Institute.

In a study by the Montreal Economic Institute published Thursday, researcher Gabriel Giguère points out that there are investment projects totaling 21,000 megawatts waiting for an electricity supply when only 1,000 megawatts are available, according to the Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.

“It’s like giving the government and the crown corporation life and death rights over projects,” he said, “and it’s a drag on economic development.” »

La Presse spoke to the author of the study.

Electricity can be produced directly on industrial sites. It’s done elsewhere. That’s what Innergex does, which powers Amazon’s Ohio facilities with a 200-megawatt solar farm. In the north, hydroelectric plants could be built near businesses, if the current limit of 50 megawatts for private plants is lifted. There is a way to build short circuits and to reach an agreement with Hydro-Québec to send electricity through its network. What is important is to be flexible.

Hydro-Québec’s rates do not necessarily reflect its costs, let’s face it. The cost of new supplies is much higher than the average cost per kilowatt hour. You need to have some thought on this. I can’t tell you if there will be many companies interested in investing, but if it’s not allowed, there won’t be. Companies like Innergex, for example, could raise their hands.

We will have to see the price per kilowatt hour. I don’t know if demand will halve or if it will go from 21,000 megawatts to 8,000 megawatts, but companies that are told no by Hydro-Québec would certainly look into the possibility of sourcing electricity from private producers. There is currently no alternative. There are a lot of projects and little electricity available. Quebec’s economic development is blocked.