CCCJ Speaker Series: Three Quebec–Japan energy opportunities
Attending the chamber event are (from left): Then-General Delegate of Québec to Tokyo, Claire Deronzier; retired Ambassador of Japan to Canada Sadaaki Numata; Québec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Pierre Arcand; Air Canada Japan General Manager, Kiyo Weiss; incoming General Delegate of Québec to Tokyo Luci Tremblay; and Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan Chair, Neil van Wouw.
Ties between Japan and Québec in the areas of technology, research and innovation continue to grow apace, characterized by multiple partnerships in renewable energy and technologies.
On September 19, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Japan hosted Québec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Pierre Arcand, who addressed members on the potential that ties Japan and Canada in the field of mine development, energy innovation and transportation electrification.
Before introducing the minister, the then-General Delegate of Québec to Tokyo Claire Deronzier, expressed her thanks and bid members farewell saying, “Since today is my last event with the chamber, [I want] to warmly thank the members, directors and governors for their friendship and total support.”
Arcand highlighted the Plan Nord, an economic development strategy launched by the Government of Québec to develop the natural resources extraction sector.
Partnerships abound between Québec and Japan and exploiting the opportunities in mining, forestry and energy is part of the Plan Nord’s strategy.
“But we want also to exploit this in the way we need to do it in the 21st century, which means we need to help the community, protect the environment and there is also huge potential for tourism,” he said.
The government intends to make the plan a leading example of responsible and sustainable northern development.
“Right now over 7,000 jobs are related to ventures in the Plan Nord. In Québec, we have 12 mines currently in operation with another 15 planned,” he began. “By 2035, it is estimated that Plan Nord-related employment could total 15–25,000 people.”
Of the C$15 billion of investments expected by 2035, C$16 billion is already committed to Plan Nord. Further private and public investments are expected.
For the plan to succeed, however, roads must be upgraded, as must rail, maritime and telecommunications infrastructure, to facilitate travel and communication north of the 49th parallel.
Arcand outlined the efforts being made, through the Energy Transition Policy, to develop renewable energies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 percent from the 1990 level.
“The goal is to make Québec a leader in renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by the year 2020,” he said.
The new action plan offers consumers a choice of energy sources, including hydraulic, wind, and solar power, and natural gas.
Arcand said there are three major fields where partnerships with Japan can be developed. the first, he said, is energy storage systems and the development of high-capacity batteries for use in power grids.
He named an energy storage system demonstration project that is currently underway and co-sponsored by Sony Corporation and Hydro-Quebec.
“It is a joint venture and we hope to commercialize those high-capacity battery prototypes.”
The second field is smart grids and devices to help curb household and business energy demand through advanced management techniques. “New smart appliances will also make appearances in the coming years in homes, cutting energy demand at peak times,” he explained.
The third element he referred to as greener electricity production in stand-alone systems. “The goal is to reduce the use of petroleum products, while providing surer sources of power to remote communities not necessarily connected to the main power grid.”
Developing these new technologies is essential. Another goal he described is
the Electrification Action Plan. This will drive growth in electric transportation, the de-carbonization of current transportation and, in the future, the use of hydrogen.
In his closing remarks, retired Ambassador of Japan to Canada Sadaaki Numata, said: “There is a great potential there; there is a great potential north of the 49th parallel in that vast land, and that potential is as vast as the land is.”