We were pleased to discuss with Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hydro-Québec, how we can achieve deep decarbonization and how, together, we can contribute to a bright sustainable future.
Hydro-Québec is proud to participate in Climate Week NYC once again, a unique annual event that brings together climate action advocates from around the world. Science says that carbon emissions don’t stop at borders, so it stands to reason that we must all work together towards sustainable solutions for our planet.
What is Hydro-Québec’s vision for achieving deep decarbonization?
In Québec, we’re blessed with lots of water. And according to scientific projections, we should be seeing even more in years to come. The reliable clean baseload electricity we produce supplies Québec and other markets, including the U.S. Northeast. To achieve deep decarbonization, regional planning and coordinated action are needed, along with more transmission infrastructure. In this connection, we’re very proud of the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) project that will deliver our clean hydropower directly into New York City, where 90% of the electricity consumed is currently fossil-fuel generated. Eventually, this fully buried transmission line can also serve as a two-way superhighway of clean electrons to leverage hydropower as a means of complementing offshore wind and solar in order to substantially decrease power system costs as the region decarbonizes.
How is Hydro-Québec addressing stakeholder engagement in its clean energy projects?
For Hydro-Québec, stakeholder engagement means putting people at the center of everything we do as a state-owned corporation. It means making a point of going where people live, listening to their needs and concerns, recognizing our past failures, constantly improving our performance, cultivating trust, and acting with respect and honesty. At the end of the day, it’s about getting clean electricity safely and reliably to people so they can live healthier and more productive lives. Beyond our core business of keeping the lights on, we strive to work with communities to meet other needs they may have. For example, we know the beginning of a school year puts an extra financial burden on families. That’s why we’re partnering with community-based organizations in New York City to distribute school supplies in underserved communities, so students have the material they need to start the school year.
How is Hydro-Québec approaching sustainability within the company?
Sustainability is at the core of everything we do at Hydro-Québec. It’s what has helped rank us #1 once again this year on Corporate Knight’s list of Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada. The ranking is based not only on the low-carbon nature of our electricity, but also on supplier sustainability, taxes paid, CEO to average employee pay, and gender diversity among executives and board members. Our ability to contribute to a more sustainable society starts with making sure that we practice sustainability within our corporation.
Do you have any advice for young people seeking to make a difference in the fight against climate change?
Don’t let perfection be the enemy of the good. Time is of the essence. We must act now to avert the worst impacts of climate change. Each and every one of us must seize all viable opportunities to make a difference for our planet and future generations. There are no small projects: just find a field you’re passionate about and see how you can make things better!