Canada’s hydro-quebec International (HQI) and Quebec Solidarity Fund (FTQ) have become co-owners of a 180MW, direct-current interconnection in Australia. Their local partner is Australian NorthPower (ANP). The organisations’ aim is to link the electricity systems of the states of New South Wales and Queensland.

Estimated to cost A$100M (US$63M), HQI is investing 33.33% of the total project cost, FTQ is investing 16.67% and ANP is to invest 50%. Other companies involved in the scheme include TransEnergie US, a Hydro Quebec subsidiary, which will supply technical expertise during the construction and operation. ABB will supply the cables and converters and will also provide technical expertise during certain phases of the project. The whole project is expected to take up to 12 months to complete.

Meanwhile Andre Caille, CEO of Hydro Quebec (HQ), has said that the provincially owned utility intends to increase its electricity production by 25% in the next five years.

HQ, one of North America’s largest utilities, has an installed capacity of approximately 36,700MW — almost all of it developed through hydro projects.

In addition to supplying the province of Quebec in Canada, HQ also exports power to the northeastern states of the US. Caille said the utility intends to spend C$12B (US$7.9B) in the next ten years on power projects but declined to provide more details about these. However, it is expected that they will be hydro projects in northern Quebec which have been languishing on the drawing boards for years, due to opposition from native groups. Caille said that Quebec’s native communities will be involved in the planning and implementation of the new projects.