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Hydro-Québec looking to boost exports following record year

WATCH: Talks are underway to export Hydro-Québec electricity to New York city. Nothing has been finalized, but the public utility company is eager sell more hydro-electric power to the Big Apple. Global's Tim Sargeant went to find out the next steps as Hydro-Québec tries to double its exports.

Hydro-Québec’s fifth largest generating station is nothing short of impressive.

More than 8,000 cubic metres of water per second pass through at the Beauharnois power station. That’s the equivalent of filling three Olympic-sized pools every second.

That much water, combined with the 36 turbines in place, produce enough electricity to power more than 430,000 homes.

More and more electricity being powered by stations like the one at Beauharnois is being exported.

READ MORE: Hydro-Quebec says U.S. export deal will keep local power rates below inflation

Last year, a record amount of hydro-electric power — 36.1 terawatt hours — was exported.

This year could be another high volume year, but it’s too early to say whether a new record will be set.

“For us, we can have an opportunity for new markets. Develop assets. We help to de-carbonize North America,” Guy Lavoie, the lead guide in charge of the Beauharnois power station, told Global News.

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READ MORE: Hydro-Québec and U.S. partner sign agreement to get power to Massachusetts

Last year, the utility company signed its largest contract in history, agreeing to sell 9.45 terawatt hours to the state of Massachusetts.

It’s currently in discussions with officials from New York City to sell electricity to the Big Apple.

But reaching the export goals requires more than just signing contracts: new transmission lines need to be built. The existing ones are operating at full capacity.

“We want to build new transmission to be able to sell energy there,” Simon Bergevin, director of Hydro-Québec’s trading floor, told Global News.

Most of the electricity exported is actually done through real-time trading on the open market  and not through traditional contracts.

Hydro-Québec is trying to secure more hydro-electric contracts, but one of the biggest challenges it faces remains building more transmission lines to carry the utility company’s number one commodity.

WATCH: Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back

Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back
Quebecers want Hydro-Québec’s extra profits back