Quebec Doubles Wind Power Purchase to 2000 MW

The Quebec government says it will authorize Hydro-Quebec, the province’s government-owned utility, to issue a request for proposals for 2000 MW of wind power, double what had previously been planned.

Premier Jean Charest said Quebec residents want to see the development of more wind power, a goal the government shares. He says the purchase of 2000 MW will result in an investment of $3 billion in the province, as well as the creation of 4000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs in manufacturing and ongoing maintenance. At present, Quebec’s installed wind capacity is 212 MW, with an additional 1,244 MW currently under development. Installations under the second decree will bring the province’s total to almost 3,500 MW by 2013 which would represent approximately 7 percent of the province’s energy generation. This puts the province on track for meeting the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) stated target of 10% of total generation by 2015, or approximately 6,000 MW. Although details of the second decree have yet to emerge, CanWEA hopes that it will allow wind turbines to be installed all over the province and that it will not restrict manufacturing to the Gaspe region alone. The government’s first decree in 2003 restricted wind turbine installations as well as a portion of manufacturing to an eligible area comprised of the Gaspesie administrative region and the Matane MRC. “CanWEA would like to see the Quebec government open up the province for the development of wind power projects. This way, all regions of Quebec can benefit from the province’s excellent wind resource”, said Sean Whittaker, Policy Director for CanWEA. Whittaker said that recent studies have shown that Quebec’s massive wind energy resource includes more than 100,000 MW of potential developments within 25 km of existing transmission lines. With the new call for tenders for an additional 2,000 MW announced this week, it is expected that the amount of wind power contracted by Hydro-Quebec will reach 3,500 MW by the end of 2013, representing more than 7 percent of currently installed wind power generation worldwide. “This is a major technical and operational challenge that we’re prepared to meet,” said Thierry Vandal, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hydro-Quebec.”
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