With more than $7 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is a leading energy provider. It is the largest natural gas distribution company in Quebec, where its network of over 10,000 kilometres (6,200 mi) of underground pipelines serves some 300 municipalities and more than 200,000 customers. Gaz Métro is also present in Vermont in the United States, where it has more than 310,000 customers through its subsidiaries Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas Systems. There, it operates in the electricity production market and the electricity and natural gas distribution market.
- 1 History
- 2 Financial information
- 3 Activities
- 4 Footnotes
- 5 External links
The main natural gas distributor in Québec was created during the first nationalization of electricity in Québec, in 1944. By bringing Montreal Light, Heat and Power under state control, the new Quebec Hydroelectric Commission, better known as Hydro-Québec, not only took charge of the company's electricity assets, and also acquired a gas distribution network in Greater Montréal.
Near the end of the 1940s, industrialists began planning the construction of a pipeline that would connect Alberta and the large cities of Ontario. Hydro-Québec was approached to extend the pipeline toward Montréal. Several meetings were organized, and the Quebec Hydroelectric Commission ordered internal studies and sought expert advice. In March 1954, the commissioners formed a committee to make a decision. The committee recommended replacing industrial gas with natural gas from Western Canada, a conversion that would be of some benefit to the public utility. The Commission's President, L.-Eugène Potvin, instead recommended selling the gas sector to a private company. This solution was adopted and the Commission adopted a resolution to divest itself of all its gas assets, which was approved by the Duplessis government. Negotiations began with several groups and the sale of the network to the Quebec Natural Gas Corporation was concluded in the spring of 1957.
In 1969, the company was renamed Gaz Métropolitain.
In 1985, the company acquired Gaz Inter-Cité Québec (which served eastern Québec) and Gaz Provincial du Nord (which served Abitibi-Témiscamingue). It became a subsidiary of Noverco.
In 1986, Gaz Métro acquired Vermont Gas Systems, which distributes all the natural gas in Vermont.
On January 1, 1997, almost 40 years after removing itself from the natural gas sector, Hydro-Québec returned to the sector by acquiring a 42% stake in Noverco, the holding company that controls Gaz Métro. As such, Hydro-Québec was once again under the control of André Caillé, who left the position of President and CEO three months later to become the head of the Québec state company. This move was part of Mr. Caillé’s convergence strategy to transform Québec into an energy hub in the northeastern part of the North American continent.
In 2003, Gaz Metropolitain was abridged to Gaz Métro and accompanied by a new logo.
In 2004, Hydro-Québec sold its shares of Noverco to the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. Trencap thus became the majority shareholder in Gaz Métro.
In 2010, Gaz Métro was restructured so that 71% of its capital was held by the private company Noverco, which was controlled by Trencap (61.11%) and Enbridge (38.9%), while 29% was owned by the new company Valener, listed on the TSX.
CVPS operations were merged with those of GMP in 2012–making GMP the largest electric utility in the state, providing electricity to over 75 percent of Vermont residents.
Gaz Métro is a privately held limited partnership. Valener holds an economic interest of about 29% in Gaz Métro and is a public company 100% owned by the investing public.
As at September 30, 2015, Gaz Métro had $7 billion in assets.
In September 2015, the number of employees was 1,449.
Natural gas distribution
Gaz Métro distributes approximately 97% of the gas consumed in Québec. Its underground network spans more than 10,000 km and serves just over 200,000 customers. Gaz Métro’s subsidiary Vermont Gas Systems is the sole gas distributor in the state of Vermont. It serves over 50,000 customers.
Liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Over the last few years, Gaz Métro has developed its liquefied natural gas (LNG) subsidiary for heavy and maritime transportation, and for serving industries in regions far from the natural gas network. LNG comes from Gaz Métro’s liquefaction, storage and regasification (LSR) plant in Montréal East, in operation since 1965.
In 2014, the Québec government (through Investissement Québec) and Gaz Métro teamed up to increase the capacities of Gaz Métro’s natural gas liquefaction plant. The addition of a second liquefaction train will increase production from 3 billion to 9 billion cubic feet per year.
Compressed natural gas (CNG)
Compressed natural gas (CNG) has exactly the same properties as natural gas in its gaseous state. However, it can be stored at 300 times atmospheric pressure, which reduces the volume by an equal amount. Transported in high pressure tanks, it is mostly used for short-range daily trips.
Biomethane is a renewable and carbon-neutral energy with the same properties as regular natural gas, and it is produced from organic material. Saint-Hyacinthe became the first municipality in Québec to produce energy through biomethanation, and several biomethanation projects are now being developed elsewhere in the province of Quebec.
Vermont - Electricity distribution and production
Green Mountain Power (GMP), a subsidiary of Gaz Métro, is the largest electricity distributor in Vermont, serving over 70% of the market and more than 260,000 customers. GMP’s core business includes the distribution, transportation, generation, purchase and sale of electricity in Vermont and, to a lesser degree, electricity transportation in New Hampshire and electricity generation in the states of New York, Maine and Connecticut.
The GMP network comprises over 1,500 km of overhead transmission lines, 18,000 km of overhead distribution lines and 1,600 km of underground distribution lines, located mainly in Vermont but also extending to New Hampshire and New York.
Green Mountain Power generates a portion of the electricity it distributes but most of its supply is purchased from other producers. Its supply portfolio comprises several sources of power generation, including wind power, solar power and hydroelectricity (GMP buys 23% of its electricity from Hydro-Québec). GMP also buys electricity produced with "cow power," a process that uses methane from the manure of dairy cattle to generate clean energy.
According to management, GMP produces 5,000 short tons (4,500 t)-10,000 short tons (9,100 t) of CO2 annually, for which they are seeking offsets.
In 2008, GMP got 40% of its power from nuclear sources.
Québec - Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms
The Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms are an equal-share joint venture of Boralex and Beaupré Éole, which is, in turn, 51%-owned by Gaz Métro and 49%-owned by Valener. The core business of this joint venture consists in owning and operating these wind farms. The first phase includes two wind farms with an installed capacity of 272 megawatts. These wind farms were put into commercial service in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. The second phase has an installed capacity of 68 megawatts and was put into commercial service on December 1, 2014.
All of the electricity generated is sold to Hydro-Québec under a 20-year contract.
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- "Programme de traitement des matières organiques par biométhanisation et compostage - Liste des projets". www.mddelcc.gouv.qc.ca. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- "Our subsidiaries | About us | Gaz Métro". www.gazmetro.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- "About Cow Power". www.greenmountainpower.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- Page, Candace (September 7, 2008). CREDITS:State could win in cap-and-trade deal. Burlington Free Press.
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- "Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farm". Power Technology. Retrieved 2016-07-18.
- "Valener » Boralex and Gaz Métro / Valener announce the closing of a C$617.5 million refinancing for Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms 2 and 3". www.valener.com. Retrieved 2016-07-18.