For the first time in Hydro-Québec’s history, solar power is now supplying the company’s grid. Gabrielle-Bodis generating station, located in La Prairie, and Robert-A.-Boyd generating station in Varennes were inaugurated.

The generating stations have a combined installed capacity of 9.5 MW and will be able to generate close to 16 GWh of solar power annually—equivalent to the consumption of 1,000 residential customers. These facilities will help Hydro-Québec determine whether solar power is a good fit for our generating fleet, our transmission grid and the Québec climate.

“I am very proud that the generating station in La Prairie pays tribute to Gabrielle Bodis,” stated Sophie Brochu, President and CEO of Hydro-Québec. “She was the very first woman to earn an engineering degree from Polytechnique Montréal and she worked for Hydro-Québec for over 35 years. It is also the first Hydro-Québec facility named after a woman. As for the generating station in Varennes, we are highlighting the major contribution by a former President and CEO of Hydro-Québec, Robert A. Boyd, to whom we owe the success of the hydropower development in the Baie-James region and the francization of engineering in Québec. He also contributed to the creation of Hydro-Québec’s research institute, which is also the site of the generating station that bears his name.”

“We are pleased that Québec is entering the field of solar power generation by leveraging the expertise of local firms, both for the construction of the generating stations—with Borea—and for the purchase of some of the panels—with Stace,” added Jonatan Julien, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources.

Gabrielle-Bodis generating station

  • Area: 150,000 m2, or the equivalent of 28 football fields
  • Installed capacity: 8 MW
  • Number of solar panels: 26,000 (over 4,200 of which are manufactured in Québec)
  • Annual output: 13 GWh

Robert-A.-Boyd generating station

  • Area: 56,000 m2, or the equivalent of 10 football fields
  • Installed capacity: 1.5 MW
  • Number of solar panels: 4,600
  • Annual output: 2.6 GWh

Gabrielle Bodis
Gabrielle Bodis worked for Hydro-Québec for more than 35 years. The first woman to earn an engineering degree from Polytechnique Montréal, in mechanical and electrical engineering, she was the first female engineer hired by Hydro-Québec (in 1959) as well as the first to visit the company’s jobsites.

She was still the only woman among the company’s 439 engineers in 1967, when she first started visiting jobsites (Carillon, Rapides-des-Îles, Première-Chute, Manic-2 and Manic-5)—something only men had been permitted to do up until then.

Robert A. Boyd
The first Francophone engineer hired by Hydro-Québec, Robert A. Boyd was a key player in the implementation of French within the company and the development of the Baie-James region. He also supported Lionel Boulet in the creation of IREQ, travelling with him throughout the world and helping to recruit key scientists. Together, they made a major contribution to Hydro-Québec’s international reputation.

Robert A. Boyd was hired by Hydro-Québec in 1944 and was the company’s sixth President and CEO, from 1977 to 1981, when he retired after 37 years of service.

Featured image: Gabrielle-Bodis generating station, located in La Prairie, April 2021. (CNW Group/Hydro-Québec)

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