Battery sector: “It is certain that it represents an economic risk,” acknowledges the CEO of Investissement Québec

The CEO of Investissement Québec (IQ) recognizes the “economic risk” of pouring more than $2.7 billion of public money into the battery sector, but assures that he has actually “done his homework” to all the risks understand, even if it was not the case Request a study on the subject.

“It’s a damn good deal. It certainly represents an economic risk. The sector is not yet built,” explained Investissement Québec (IQ) CEO Guy LeBlanc in an interview with the Journal.

The number 1 in the financial sector made this statement on the sidelines of a speech scheduled for Tuesday to businessmen from Mauricie and Centre-du-Québec.

No study

Asked about the various risks in the battery sector, Guy LeBlanc wanted to clarify the matter after experts accused Quebec of not looking closely enough at the issue.

“We didn’t ask for a study. We have not provided any document other than our discussions with the relevant parties and have had these discussions with international actors. We have had these discussions with specialized companies. We had these conversations with people from the Hydro-Québec Research Center, including Karim Zaghib and the people from Shawinigan,” he explained.

“We have done our homework, both in terms of technical and commercial due diligence, as well as all potential risks, the reputation of the players we have spoken to, etc.,” he said.

Public money

While the Legault government has just committed almost 20% of public funding to battery sector projects worth around $15 billion, IQ Number 1 had a message for taxpayers: we must stop talking about a “subsidy”, and view it as an investment.

“What irritates me is that we always talk about subsidies and aid and so on. It was the financing and 95 percent participation that we did,” he said.

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“I’m a little tired of hearing about these subsidies. This is 5% of the $15 billion in Quebec aid, which is a form of subsidy. Period,” he insisted.

Guy LeBlanc says the battery sector will be comparable to Hydro-Québec’s in terms of sales when it matures.

“We’re talking at least $15 billion to $20 billion. That will be 10,000 jobs in Quebec, and well-paying jobs,” he predicts.

No slowdown

As giants like Ford freeze their electricity investments, Guy LeBlanc claims he is not yet feeling the effects of that slowdown here.

“Ford and GM continue to pursue the same direction, invest, and construction is progressing on schedule or better. “We are not talking about a slowdown here,” continued the IQ big boss.

On the contrary, GM-POSCO’s construction work in Bécancour is a month ahead of schedule and Ford’s is going well, assures Guy LeBlanc.

He points out that Northvolt has more European customers, where the movement is not slowing down.

“We have not received any signal so far that there has been a slowdown or a slight nervousness,” he concluded.

– In collaboration with Sylvain Larocque

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