(Quebec) Quebec’s inability to attract Volkswagen’s battery plant due to a lack of electricity in the Montreal region is prompting the Legault government to consider the erection of new electric transmission lines to the metropolis .
“The electricity is there. […] It’s taking her to Montreal the problem, it’s not so much having other sources as transporting her. I think we are going to have to today, and Quebec agrees, to start upstream to say where we are going to develop powerful surplus transmission lines so that we can be ready to have projects, “launched Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon Thursday during a press scrum at the National Assembly.
The minister was questioned about comments he made on Radio-Canada on Tuesday, to explain the fact that the multinational Volkswagen chose to establish itself in Ontario: “If we had had electricity, we would have been at the rendezvous, but we didn’t have it”.
However, as La Presse wrote, Hydro-Québec has energy available, except that the company’s requirements and the very short deadlines to meet them have made any agreement impossible.
Volkswagen wanted a massive 640 hectares of land, the equivalent of 1,400 football pitches, and 700 megawatts of power on site, in a very short period of time. The upgrading of the transmission network that would have been required could not have been carried out in time “according to the aggressive schedule of the promoter”, explained Hydro-Québec.
It was impossible to comply with the requests of the car manufacturer, explained the minister.
Mr. Fitzgibbon, however, maintained that the company could have established itself in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean or in Sept-Îles. In these regions, the electricity network is sufficient. But in this case, it was the shortage of labor that made the proposal obsolete. The company needed 4,000 to 6,000 workers. It would have taken a lot of “boldness” to promise Volksvagen to attract so many people to Sept-Îles, the minister said.
“The discussion was not long. They said here’s what we want. We said: we can’t do it. We can do it in Saguenay, in Sept-Îles, but they wanted Montreal,” he explained.