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New York City high school students travel north to experience Québec hydropower, university life and Mohawk community

Press Release

July 11, 2022

The Champlain Hudson Power Express’ clean energy supplier Hydro-Québec hosted a group of young students from Queens, New York in Montréal last month for a tour of its hydropower facilities and research center as well as a visit to a local university and the Mohawk community of Kahnawà:ke. The students are part of the College Access program managed by Urban Upbound, a New York non-profit organization that works to provide underserved youth with resources to achieve economic prosperity and self-sufficiency.

Experiencing Québec hydropower and innovation

This unique program, the first collaboration between Montréal based Hydro-Québec and the Queens, New York based Urban Upbound, allowed young people from Queens to experience first-hand the renewable energy source that will help power their neighborhood.  As part of this innovative trip, the group visited one of the largest hydroelectric plants in the world, Hydro-Québec’s Beauharnois generating station, which extends over the Beauharnois canal for about half a mile. It is one of Hydro-Québec’s most senior facilities – and one of its most powerful. Equipped with 36 generating units, it has an installed capacity of 1,900 MW.

The students also visited Hydro-Québec’s Research Institute (IREQ) which has been at the origin of the development of key innovative projects that have shaped the path for modernization, electrification, and advancement in the clean economy not only at Hydro-Québec but also around the world. This includes innovation like the in-wheel motor that allowed the development of TM4; today Dana TM4 is the manufacturer of electric motors that power electric buses across the globe. IREQ has a team of 500 experts who work on all aspects of Hydro-Québec’s activities, from electricity generation to consumption.

Tekwanonwerá:tons Kahnawà:ke [welcome to Kahnawà:ke]

Ratsénhaienhs (Chief) Mike Delisle, Jr. welcomed the young students to Kahnawà:ke, one of the Mohawk Nation’s eight communities and future co-owner of the Québec portion of the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE) line. The community of Kahnawà:ke is situated along the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River, across from the City of Montréal. During the 20th century, the Mohawks of Kahnawà:ke helped construct New York City’s most iconic buildings and bridges, thanks to their skilled ironworkers. The Mohawk of Kahnawà:ke   had such a strong presence in New York City that there was a neighborhood in Brooklyn named ‘Little Caughnawaga,’ where many of the workers lived.

“It is always a pleasure to host people in our community to share our history and culture.  This one was special, as these students and their teachers are part of a community in Queens New York which will be the recipient of the clean energy, we and our partner Hydro-Québec will be providing to New York City, part of our traditional homeland”. Chief Mike Delisle, Jr, Mohawk Community Kahnawà:ke.

An insight into university life

The visit of the HEC Montréal campus was an opportunity for the group to interact with students and faculty, experience university life, and spend time to engage in academic discussions about business and innovation.

“It was a pleasure to engage with such motivated young students and reflect upon key issues of the sociopolitical and business landscape.” Pierre-Emmanuel Cardinal, Director – Campus Without Border, HEC Montréal.

Broadening horizons – Environmental justice and our clean energy future

Living in Queens, a community on the front lines of climate change impacts and where local air pollution is among the worst levels in New York State due to nearby fossil fuel power plants, the students were able to learn about the health and environmental benefits of the renewable hydropower that the Hydro-Québec project, the Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE), will deliver to their community.

As part of its commitment to promote environmental justice and invest in the economic development of disadvantaged communities, Hydro-Québec is pleased to have created this innovative program that will encourage young generations to broaden their horizons as well as provide them with opportunities to reflect on the best ways forward in our collective transition to a cleaner and more sustainable energy future.

“Coming to Montréal has been eye opening and a gift. Whether it stems from politics to clean energy, it expanded my perspective of the world around me knowing that other countries are working on things like bringing clean and efficient energy services such as Hydro-Québec. Visiting HEC Montréal University and having the privilege to hear inspiring ideas opens up the possibility for a brighter future of our current world. I’m very thankful that I had the opportunity to visit and learn such fascinating things in Montréal.” Jennifer Chen, student from the College Access Program at Urban Upbound.

“We are so grateful to Hydro-Québec for hosting the Urban Upbound College Access Students. Thank you for providing excellent hospitality and for providing a rich opportunity for inner-city youth to see the renaissance of clean, renewable energy. These are the collaborations that change our world for the better.” Bishop Mitchell G. Taylor CEO & Co-Founder of Urban Upbound.

About Urban Upbound

Urban Upbound’s mission is to break cycles of poverty in New York City public housing and other low-income neighborhoods. Originally known as East River Development Alliance (ERDA), Urban Upbound was co-founded in 2004 by Debra-Ellen Glickstein, a strong advocate of economic inclusion, and Bishop Mitchell Taylor, a lifelong resident of Queensbridge Houses, with the intention to develop high-quality services that address resident-identified needs. Since then, the organization has grown to serve thousands of youths and adults living in public housing and other low- and moderate-income neighborhoods annually.

About the Champlain Hudson Power Express

The CHPE project involves the construction of an entirely underground and underwater transmission line spanning approximately 339 miles between the Canada–U.S. border and New York City. Once built CHPE will deliver clean hydropower from Quebec. The permitted CHPE is estimated to create more than 1,400 jobs during construction, with a commitment to use union labor. In order to source the CHPE, Hydro-Québec will expand its transmission grid in Québec, from the Hertel substation to the Québec-New York border.


Lynn St-Laurent, porte-parole d’Hydro-Québec
514 358-5218 / 514 289-5005
[email protected]


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