At a glance
- Close to 52,000 jobs in the energy industry
- GDP of $11.16 billion (2007)
- Annual exports totaling $3.37 billion
- 11 universities offering specialized programs
- Several recognized leaders: ABB, Andritz Hydro, Bathium, Clariant, Cicame Énergie, EDF EN, Enercon, Hydro-Québec, Landis & Gyr, Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen, REpower, Siemens, Scheinder Electric, Voith Hydro
Close to 97% of Québec’s total generated electricity is from renewable sources. This atypical situation, which places clean energy at the heart of development, makes Greater Montréal an unparalleled and avant-garde springboard for companies specializing not only in hydroelectric power but also biomass, wind power and solar power. In terms of fossil fuels, the province’s sedimentary basins, with a surface area of over 200,000 km2, spur investments in oil exploration.
Did you know?
Québec is the world’s fourth largest producer of hydroelectric power after China, Brazil and the United States.
This performance is attributable to massive water reserves as well as to the government’s energy policy and Québec engineering. Hydro-Québec, a government-owned public utility, is an international leader whose know-how inspires numerous hydroelectric power producers all over the world. Hydro-Québec has 22,000 employees.
Top Seven Reasons to Consider Greater Montréal
1. Climate and economic context
To make Québec more energy efficient, the government has implemented several initiatives that are favourable in certain niches such as industrial refrigeration processes, heat recovery, and equipment for transportation applications. In addition, the province’s climate and economic base, which is highly industrial in nature, enable energy-efficiency and process optimization projects to be developed and tested on site.
2. Growth of the renewable energy sector
- Biomass: 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 (first- and second-generation biofuels and energy pellets).
- Wind power: the potential wind power that can be integrated into Hydro-Québec’s power grid will be 4,000 MW in 2015, which places Québec first in North America, ahead of Ontario, the Maritimes and the U.S. On March 13, 2013, Québec had 1,716 MW of installed capacity in its service area. In addition, Québec can boast about having invented numerous electronic control interfaces in the field of wind energy.
- Solar power: two of the world’s top players in the thermal solar niche are based in Québec (Enerconcept and Les Entreprises C. Lévesque). Furthermore, certain Québec companies manufacture the polysilicon used in photovoltaic panels.
3. Potential oil reserves
The sedimentary basins in Québec, favourable to the discovery of oil and natural gas, have a surface area of over 200,000 km2, in particular along the St. Lawrence Valley. The current situation has never been as favourable for inciting major investments in oil exploration.
4. A pool of labour adequately trained for the specific characteristics of the sector.
With 170,000 students enrolled in universities – including 20,000 foreign students – Greater Montréal is the leader in terms of the number of university graduates each year. Several universities offer specialized programs related to energy, engineering and management:
- École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS)
- École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP)
- HEC Montréal
- Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS)
- Polytechnique Montréal
- Concordia University
- Université de Montréal
- Université de Sherbrooke – Longueuil Campus
- Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)
- McGill University
- Télé-université (TÉLUQ)
In Greater Montréal, there are also numerous technical and vocational training programs related to energy.
5. The dynamic nature of R&D, based both on university research and industrial research, in all fields:
- Hydroelectric power: in addition to its Research Institute, Hydro-Québec supports numerous university research chairs.
- Biomass: Research Centre in Process Engineering – Biorefinery (CRIP – Polytechnique Montréal), FPInnovations, etc.
- Wind power: Research Laboratory on the Nordic Environment Aerodynamics of Wind Turbines (École de technologie supérieure)
- Solar power: Solar Buildings Research Network (Concordia University), Laboratory of New Materials for Energy and Electrochemistry (Polytechnique Montréal), etc.
- Energy efficiency: CanmetENERGY, Natural Gas Technologies Centre (NGTC), Industrial Research Chair in Energy Technologies and Energy Efficiency (T3E – École de technologie supérieure), etc.
6. Numerous tax and financial incentives
The development of the energy sector is part of the Québec government’s priorities, as evidenced by the implementation of the Québec Energy Strategy 2006-2015.
In concrete terms, energy sector companies can obtain funding for their projects, research and/or expansion via several provincial and federal programs, including:
- Tax Credit for Scientific Research and Experimental Development
- Financial assistance for job creation and training
- ESSOR fund for major projects
- Tax holiday for foreign researchers and experts
- NextGen Biofuels Fund™ from Sustainable Development Technologies Canada (SDTC)
- Tax credit for the acquisition of manufacturing and processing equipment
7. Lowest operating costs in North America
The combined effect of incentives and the low cost of labour, office and industrial space and of electricity make Greater Montréal an ideal location for setting up a company in the energy sector. According to KPMG (2013), Metropolitan Montréal ranks first among the 20 largest cities in North America in terms of competitive operating costs. The cost-benefit is more than 10% for all sectors combined compared to the average for the other 19 major cities.
Sources: Écotech Québec, Ministère des Ressources naturelles du Québec, Databank of Official Statistics on Québec