Canadian News

Vandal named Canadian Energy Person of the Year

Hydro-Quebec’s Thierry Vandal was chosen by the Energy Council of Canada as the 2012 Canadian Energy Person of the Year.

As president and chief executive officer of the utility, Vandal was picked because of his “significant impact at both the national and international level with respect to energy,” according to a release by the council.

Since he joined the company in 1996, Vandal has assisted in developing Hydro-Quebec’s energy assets while ensuring the utility’s rates remain competitive.

The award, established in 2001, is given to an individual who shows tremendous commitment to developing clean, sustainable energy while maintaining a strong sense of community responsibility, the council says.

According to Energy Council of Canada President Gerg Schmidt, the award honors Vandal as “an ambassador of Canada’s energy sector, demonstrating a clear vision and commitment to fostering the sustainable use and development of energy for the benefit of all.”

Vandal is the 12th recipient of the honor, which was to be awarded at a gala dinner in Montreal in October.

Hydro-Quebec has a total generating capacity of nearly 37,000 MW. The Montreal-based company operates 60 hydropower facilities that account for nearly 98% of its total power generation.

According to its website, the Energy Council of Canada is a vehicle for strategic thinking, networking and action by senior executives in the private and public sectors who have a broad interest in national, continental and global energy issues.

Report shows potential for 9,900 jobs in Ontario hydropower

The findings of the “Economic Impact of Waterpower Projects on Crown Lands in Ontario” analysis and report highlight the importance of new development in Ontario. AECOM Canada Ltd. completed the report at the request of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). AECOM provided analysis of 41 feed-in tariff hydropower projects and their socioeconomic impact on Crown land.

Ontario Waterpower Association President Paul Norris says, “Crown land is absolutely essential to environmentally sustainable waterpower development, and it is very clear from this report that the entire province benefits from increased investment in our sector.”

The report showed a number of significant outcomes and desirable impacts as a result of sanctioning the projects within contract timelines. Among them, investments for project development reaching $811 million, maintenance and operating investments up to $490 million, land and water lease revenue for the provinces of up to $45 million, 9,900 person-years of employment, $2.3 billion in gross output, and $1.3 billion in gross domestic product were all included as results of the hydroelectric projects.

Andy Keir, senior environmental consultant with AECOM, authored the report. “The results of our analysis indicate that these 41 waterpower projects have the potential to drive many jobs in the local, regional, and provincial economies. In addition, 30% of these projects have aboriginal community involvement and can provide a stepping stone to community improvement and a sustainable economic future,” he says.

The report is available for viewing on the Internet at at

Yukon utility recognized for high health and safety standards

The Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) recognized public utility Yukon Energy with high performance marks for health and safety.

As part of its annual review of utility achievements in health and safety, CEA evaluates member utilities in two areas: employee time lost following a work-related incident, and the number of those incidents severe enough to require medical care.

CEA gave Yukon Energy top scores in both areas, and the utility was given a Vice President’s award for performance in safety among other small utilities with fewer than 500 employees in generation, distribution, and transmission, according to a release by the utility.

Safety Manager Melanie Petterfer says, “I’m proud of our accomplishment and am thrilled that Yukon Energy is getting this kind of recognition on the national level. I want to encourage staff to keep up the great safe work practices.”

Yukon Energy has a capacity of about 132 MW, with 92 of those coming from three hydroelectric facilities.

Canadian Turbines to pay $6.8 million in damages

The village of Potsdam in New York will receive up to $6,837,000 in damages from Canadian Turbines Inc., says State Supreme Court Justice David R. Demarest.

When Canadian Turbines was unable to provide the items agreed upon in the contract for the West hydroelectric facility and set the project back for more than three years, the village sued the Burlington, Ontario-based company and hired another manufacturer to provide the needed parts.

Demarest ruled in favor of Potsdam and announced the amount Aug. 16 after a judicial referee decided on the amount to which the village was entitled. Village officials originally sought $2.2 million from the manufacturer for breaching its contract, including the penalties and revenue loss that resulted. The final amount was larger because the case took almost two years to go through the courts, according to Potsdam Mayor Steven W. Yurgartis.

“I’m very pleased to have received the judgment. It clearly shows how badly the village has been treated by Canadian Turbines Inc.,” Yurgartis says.

However, village officials acknowledge the amount actually received may be less. They expressed the goal to collect as much of the allocated amount as possible to make up for the time lost.

The village is currently evaluating how it will recover the money from Canadian Turbines. Potsdam has the option of acquiring a Canadian attorney and initiating court action in that country if needed. Village officials are also considering pressing criminal charges against the owner of Canadian Turbines, Richard Kuiper.

Hydro-Quebec launches electric vehicle energy transfer program

Energy producer Hydro-Quebec is partnering with GRIDbot Canada to develop a bi-directional charging station for an experimental electric vehicle program.

The exchange process, called “vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-home” (V2G-V2H), would allow energy from the electrical grid to be transferred to the plug-in vehicles and vice versa, potentially allowing electric vehicle owners to use the energy stored in the batteries as temporary power sources.

Hydro-Quebec says its research institute, IREQ, will assemble an electric test vehicle through its subsidiary, TM4, that will then be integrated with the charging station built by GRIDbot.

“We would like to better define the long-term potential of this technology,” says research institute General Manager Denis Faubert. “Through this initiative, Hydro-Quebec will continue to spearhead the integration of electric vehicles into the power system.”

The project is receiving financial backing from the Quebec government as part of its 2011-2020 Action Plan for Electric Vehicles. Hydro-Quebec announced its intent to advocate for electric vehicles January 2011.

Hydro-Quebec is the primary producer of hydroelectric power in Quebec, and the province is facing the challenge of reducing greenhouse gases. Using hydropower to power transportation helps decrease greenhouse gas emissions, as well as urban pollution and smog while producing clean, renewable energy.

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