By Alicia Venter
Serge Abergel is the Chief Operating Officer of Hydro-Quebec, a Quebec-based company that generates, transmits and distributes clean energy throughout Canada and areas of the United States.
For his work in promoting sustainable energy in Queens, he has been honored by the Queens Chamber of Commerce as a Business Person of the Year.
“We are in this huge energy transition. We are trying to lessen our usage of fossil fuel,” Abergel said. “People are looking for alternatives to using fossil fuels. This is especially relevant in the case of New York City and in the case of neighborhoods like Queens.”
Abergel is responsible for the U.S. operations — all energy exports from Quebec to the United States. Talking to Queens residents, Abergel shared, led to an immediate connection between the company’s mission and their desires.
“Especially in Queens, you have part of the community that is right next to oil burning fossil-fuel peakers,” Abergel said, referencing the Ravenswood Generating Plant — which is currently undergoing their “Renewable Ravenswood” effort to produce 100% renewable energy.
“Those are fossil fuel generating plants,” he continued. “The big issue of these things is that they pollute, they worsen air quality in areas like Queens, and they create health consequences.”
To engage with the community, Hydro-Quebec cultivates partnerships because “it is the only way we are going to have that successful transition [to renewable energy,]” Abergel said.
The company has worked to partner with community organizations throughout Queens, such as the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens based in Long Island City, and through working with local schools.
“We are thinking differently and we are thinking about real relationships with real people,” Abergel explained. “This [recognition] is less about me, but all these people who took part in this process.”
Recently, Hydro-Quebec, partnered with Transmission Developers Inc., donated $1.25 million to fund a science lab as well as STEM programming in the new clubhouse of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens. It is expected to be completed in 2026.
In local schools, Hydro-Quebec supports a laundry program for low-income families to ensure they have access to clean clothing.
These partnerships, Abergel emphasized, are “not transactional” or short-term — they are looking for further partnerships and to be a part of their existing relationships beyond the foreseeable future.
“We deeply believe in this,” Abergel expressed. “We are committed long term… What we want is not just to support financially, but to be there, interacting with people, for years to come.