Sunday, October 1, 2023

Battery sector: “There are many other announcements to come,” says Legault

After having revitalized the Bécancour industrial park with the arrival of important players in the battery sector, Prime Minister François Legault affirms that this is just the beginning of announcements regarding this sector of activity in Quebec.

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In an interview with TVA Nouvelles, Quebec’s premier says Quebecers have not yet heard the latest from the battery industry.

“I won’t reveal it myself, but there are many other announcements to come,” he says.

Within two weeks, the government should announce a private investment of 7 billion in this direction.

In particular, the North Volt company would be interested in Quebec.

“Without revealing anything, (…) why are they looking at Quebec? Because we are the only ones who say that your factory will not run on gas, but on hydroelectric and wind energy,” says the Prime Minister.

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“It will be essential to be green in everything we do,” he adds. “They will have a factory in Quebec, if we agree with GM and Ford, that will produce the greenest batteries for electric vehicles.”

Legault also wanted to defend the financial aid of 900 million dollars already granted to projects in this sector.

“We have to make sure that every time we contribute a dollar, we get more than a dollar in benefits for Quebecers,” he says.

“There are two things in which we are better than the Americans: we have clean energy thanks to Hydro-Québec and we are able to do more because we have the experience to prepare large projects like the ones we did 25 years ago, which are yet to come. to Quebec.”

By investing so much, the government wanted to ensure its integration into the global green energy market and counter American protectionism.

“On average, jobs in the manufacturing sector are paid 35% more than the average for all jobs,” says Legault. “Whether it is Trump or Biden, they would like to recover (the factories located in Asia, in North America) and they have launched programs, so there will surely be competition, and we did our calculations.”

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The arrival of major players in the automotive and battery sectors has benefited the city of Bécancour, greatly affected by the closure in 2012 of the Gentilly nuclear power plant.

“It has really been a hard blow for the region and the Gentilly sector suffered a hard blow,” says Nicolet-Bécancour MP Donald Martel. When I think about the businesses that could have been there, there were a lot of houses for sale.”

“That’s still almost 1,000 jobs at almost $100,000 a year that we lost in one go, it was a really important economic activity,” he continues.

Created in 1968, the Quebec government’s only industrial park no longer had guidelines, despite the presence of an aluminum smelter, until projects related to the battery sector were announced.

“The first time I came to this Bécancour park was with Donald Martel,” says the Prime Minister, Legault shares. Il m’avait dit ”François, c’est nore plus grand industrial park au Canada, mais il n’y a pas un chat, il n’y a pas d’entreprise, et là aujourd’hui il n’y a more place.”

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“It is certain that the next battery factories will be somewhere other than Bécancour,” he continues. “We will install them wherever there is space in Quebec.”

Now it’s a real race, as GM started construction in winter and Ford and Némaska ​​​​​​Lithium are also emerging, creating more than 1,000 direct jobs.

Therefore, this municipality of 14,700 inhabitants must prepare for the arrival of between 3,000 and 5,000 workers within a period of 7 years.

“There are already many projects underway,” says the mayor of Bécancour, Lucie Allard. A new school is also planned in one of the neighborhoods and school expansions are also being planned. The big project we are working on is an inter-order school that will be installed in the industrial park.”

The municipality’s objective is to prevent it from becoming a dormitory city.

Watch the full report in the video above.

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