We just published a new book, Charging Ahead: Hydro-Quebec and the Future of Electricity. The book has an interesting story: when we started working on it in 2018, we thought we’d be writing a history of Hydro-Québec. But the plan quickly changed when we realized the future of Hydro-Québec was more interesting — much more interesting.
With 99.8 percent renewable energy, Hydro-Québec is the biggest, cleanest and greenest hydroelectric producer in North America, and by a long shot. Hydro-Québec will almost certainly play a key role in the energy transition both here in Canada and south of the border. Hydro-Quebec is already being called the “battery of the North East.” One reason for this is, Hydro-Québec made some truly audacious choices the company made after it was founded in 1944. But there are other factors. In Charging Ahead, we explain Hydro-Québec inside out, chapter by chapter.
Electricity might be invisible, but it certainly isn’t dull. Over the course of our research we visited the breathtaking Daniel Johnson Dam at La Manic on Quebec’s North Shore, played with robots at Hydro-Quebec research centre in Varennes and even got to see Hydro-Quebec’s secret control centre in downtown Montreal. There were moments during out research when we felt like we were in a James Bond movie.
Looking at hydroelectricity behind the scenes was utterly eye opening to us as journalists, even after writing dozens of magazines articles on Hydro-Québec over the years. Sonali Karnick, host of CBC’s All in a Weekend, told us she was astonished reading our book to learn “so many surprising and interesting things” about Hydro-Quebec, the energy transition, and electricity in general.
We hope you’ll get a copy of Charging Ahead, and see for yourselves. And we’d love to hear what you think.
All the best to you, in the meantime,
Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow
Photo credit: here