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Renewable Energy

The primary forms of renewable energy, i.e. solar power, wind energy, energy from biomass / biogas / biofuels, geothermal energy, hydroelectricity and hydrogen energy, represent one of largest growing markets in the world. In addition to helping improve the sustainability of energy production, renewable energy offers environmental benefits.

Although Québec is privileged to be able to count on hydroelectricity, other forms of renewable energy are emerging: biomass, wind and solar energy.

 

Hydroelectricity

Using the driving force of water to produce renewable energy, Québec has developed a solid reputation on the world stage. Hydroelectricity has earned recognition both here and abroad, thanks to Québec's unique expertise and engineering skills. Some niche markets, like mini hydroelectric power stations, river-run micro-hydro stations and marine turbines are starting to stand out.

Research centres like IREQ, LTE and GRANIT and industrial research chairs like the NSERC/Hydro-Québec TransÉnergie and NSERC/Hydro-Québec can be counted on to develop solutions in the fields associated with the transport of electrical energy and the management of water systems.

 

Biomass

Québec is holding its own vis-à-vis international competition in the field of biomass harvesting. In fact, biomass as a generator of electricity is well developed in Québec. Though biofuels, biogas, forestry residues and marine biotechnology are less prominent and still at the early stages, they are beginning to penetrate the market and Québec is well-positioned in them. With the help of a large forest industry and low electricity costs, the biomass market in Québec is developing rapidly and catching up to international niche markets (1st and 2nd generation biofuels and energy pellets). Biomass energy relies largely on R&D, and organizations like CRIP-Biorefinery, CRIBIQ, FP Innovations and FORAC research consortium are contributing to forge ahead in this promising sector.

 

Wind

With the best wind energy potential in North America, ahead of Ontario, the Maritimes and the United States, Québec can boast of having invented numerous electronic control interfaces in the field of wind energy. The Québec wind energy sector is flying high after having reduced its dependence on foreign intellectual property (IP). Many Québec companies can boast of having developed an expertise on specific parts of turbines and on electronic control interfaces. Québec is home to several specialized centres like the TechnoCentre Éolien, which hosts the wind energy niche of excellence, as well as the Canada Research Chair on Nordic Environment Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines (ÉTS), the Anti-Icing Materials International Laboratory (UQAC) and the Wind Energy Research Laboratory (UQAR).

 

Solar

While the solar energy sector in Quebec can be described as emerging, it can count on companies specialized in active thermal energy (solar air heating), such as Aeronergie (Enerconcept), Rackam, Trigo Energies, off-grid solar energy systems (such as Volts Energies and Idénergie), as well as research chairs, including those of the Solar Buildings Research Network (to which Concordia and Polytechnique belong), l’École de technologie supérieure and Université de Sherbrooke (which has just designed the most efficient photovoltaic cell in the world). In addition, firms such as Energir, Innergex and Boralex operate solar power generation sites, generally elsewhere in Canada or the United States.