Quebec had to give up Volkswagen for lack of electricity, says Fitzgibbon
“If we had had electric current, we would have been there, but we didn't have it,” he admits.
Quebec gave up attracting Volkswagen to its territory about a year ago, explained Minister Fitzgibbon in an interview with Gérald Fillion.
Quebec lost Volkswagen's investment to Ontario because it did not have sufficient energy resources to accommodate a mega-battery factory, says the Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon. In addition, the German giant's schedule was too “aggressive”, adds Hydro-Québec.
The German company announced on Monday that it had chosen St. Thomas, Ontario, to to establish its first battery factory outside of Europe. This investment amounts to several billion dollars.
In an interview at Economy ZoneTuesday evening, Minister Fitzgibbon explained that it was not possible for Quebec to supply Volkswagen with the 800 to 900 megawatts of energy that the company will need within seven years to power his factory.
If we had had electricity, we would have been there, but we didn't, he admitted.
“Last spring, we were unable to meet Volkswagen's conditions, which requested significant land near Montreal, dezoned , and mainly the electrical connection that we didn't have. »
— Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy
Contacted by Radio-Canada, Hydro-Québec confirmed that the Volkswagen giant's demands were very important with a deadline that was impossible to meet.
The German company wanted in particular to have a huge field of 640 hectares, which corresponds to more than 1400 football fields. In addition, Volkswagen wanted to have access in the very short term to an electrical availability of 700 MW on the premises.
“There was no possible match based on these different criteria,” argued Maxence Huard-Lefebvre, spokesperson for Hydro-Québec, in an email to Radio-Canada.
In addition, the transmission system should have be raised (reconstruction of transmission lines and equipment in substations) to ensure such a strong load.
These upgrades could not have been completed in time given the promoter's aggressive schedule, the spokesperson continued.
Even though it had to give up Volkswagen, the state-owned company maintains that it still has energy surpluses.
We must keep in mind that we currently still have energy surpluses. Our ability to serve customers remains strong.
However, as indicated in the 2022-2026 strategic plan and the most recent supply plan, Hydro-Québec anticipates substantial growth in electricity demand and a tightening of its balance sheet in the coming years.
Also contacted by Radio-Canada, Volkswagen declined to comment on Minister Fitzgibbon's remarks.
Mr. Still, Fitzgibbon hopes to attract another EV battery cellier.
There are other lands that we can offer to other cell owners, assured the minister, adding that discussions are underway with one group in particular, which he does not ;didn't name.
We lost Volkswagen a year ago because we didn't meet the requirements, but we're not giving up, a- he summarized.
Why Volkswagen chose Ontario and not Quebec for its battery plant? And should Canada adopt a green industrial policy like the United States? Interview with the Minister of Economy and Energy of Quebec, Pierre Fitzgibbon.
Even if he did not name the cellier with whom Quebec is in discussion, the Minister declared the following day on the Trois-Rivières program Toujours le matinthat the arrival in Bécancour of a “big project” related to the manufacture of battery components should be announced soon.
Pierre's confession Fitzgibbon on Volkswagen comes as Quebec is heading towards a massive energy deficit, which the current government wants to avoid by building new dams.
However, this project – which was one of the dominant themes of the 2022 electoral campaign – is far from unanimous and is meeting with a lot of opposition, both in the National Assembly and in the environmental and aboriginal groups.
Hydro-Québec president Sophie Brochu, who had made energy efficiency her hobbyhorse, announced in January that #x27;she will step down on April 1. His replacement is still not known.
The Legault government also wants to be able to modulate the preferential rates of Hydro-Québec according to the economic and environmental commitments of the companies that benefit from it. A bill to this effect must also be tabled in the National Assembly next fall by Minister Fitzgibbon.