On November 8, 2022, I chaired a discussion panel on supply chains at the Québec Electricity Industry Association (AIEQ) conference.
The supply chain of the electricity industry is undergoing a profound transformation, fueled by the electrification of the economy (presented by Mathieu Lévesque, ing., MBA, from Dunsky Energy + Climate Advisors). While growth may be good news, it is also straining the supply chain, including raw materials (like metals and graphite), goods and services.
For entrepreneurs in Québec, the US market is of great importance. Jean-François Hould (Québec Government Office in Washington) presented the recent legislative and policy changes in the US, including “America’s Strategy to Secure the Supply Chain for a Robust Clean Energy Transition”. Clearly, our neighbors to the South also see the supply chain as the key to their competitiveness and economic growth. US firms can be both our customers and our suppliers, but also our competitors in a strained supply chain.
Mihaela Stefanov, MBA presented the perspective of Boralex Inc., hinged on the issues of price inflation, geographic concentration of manufacturing and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance).
Similarly, Martina Lyons (International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)) showed that high price volatility, security of supply (including “friendshoring”) and ESG are the key issues with the supply of raw materials.
Overall, these issues — price inflation and volatility, security of supply and ESG — are the defining characteristics of the emerging supply chains. For Québec companies selling abroad, these can be a source of competitive advantage, with its clean electricity grid, trustworthiness, and strong ESG record. On the other hand, sourcing raw materials and goods in a strained supply chain expose the same companies to these defining characteristics. Balancing these opposite forces will require careful leadership and collaboration among all stakeholders in Québec’s electricity ecosystem.
Finally, I would like to thanks all the panelists for this engaging discussion.