Canada’s hydro-quebec and Constellation Power Source of Baltimore, Maryland, US have concluded an agreement for a substantial quantity of electricity storage services which includes the delivery of energy directly into the eastern interconnections of the United States. The transaction is the result of proposals for storage capacity launched in August 1997 by Hydro Quebec. This delivery of energy provided by Hydro Quebec is the first operation of its kind for the Montreal-based utility and is made possible through an energy swap.

Last August the company issued a request for proposals (RFP) for parties interested in entering into an electricity storage agreement with them. At the time Hydro Quebec offered to store energy in its many hydro reservoirs up to approximately 2 Twh over the next two years. Among the advantages of energy storage is the ability to add value to the electricity by transforming non-peak into peak power, in addition to the potential benefits of negative storage (recall electricity now, store it later). Moreover, the energy storage allows US utilities to mitigate their seasonal peak loads by drawing on electricity stored in Quebec’s reservoirs. Seasonal peak loads in USA occur in summer while the seasonal peaks in Canada occur in the winter, allowing energy swaps between the two countries to mitigate their peak power demands.

Hydro Quebec, a publicly owned utility with a total installed capacity of more than 31 000MW, serves 3.4 million customers in the province of Quebec, generating 96 percent of its electricity through hydropower. Hydro Quebec also trades electricity with neighbouring systems in Canada and the US, is a member of the Northeast Power Coordinating Council, and also has marketing partnerships with Green Mountain Power Corp. and Trigen Corp. Its assets total nearly US$40 billion and its annual revenues approach US$6 billion.