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Quebec energy minister announces new call for tenders for 1500 MW of wind power

Huge windmills tower on the mountain side at Cap-Chat on the Gaspe peninsula on Monday Aug.3, 2000, to harvest power from the area's strong winds. (CP PHOTO/Jacques Boissinot) Huge windmills tower on the mountain side at Cap-Chat on the Gaspe peninsula on Monday Aug.3, 2000, to harvest power from the area's strong winds. (CP PHOTO/Jacques Boissinot)

Quebec is setting the table to satisfy the appetite for kilowatts from residential, industrial, institutional and commercial consumers.

Barely 24 hours after Hydro-Québec announced seven successful projects, most of them wind, for the production of 1,300 megawatts, the Minister of Economy and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, announced Thursday a new call for tenders from Hydro-Québec for another 1,500 megawatts of wind power.

Speaking at a forum organized by the Quebec Electricity Industry Association, Fitzgibbon said the need for electricity in Quebec is pressing and the projects in the new call for tenders will all be located in areas where the Crown corporation's transmission grid is accessible.

The energy, which must be available between Dec. 1, 2027 and Dec. 1, 2029, will result in approximately 4.7 TWh of capacity by 2029.

In a press scrum afterwards, Fitzgibbon said that the proximity required is to get to the most urgent things, which cannot be done in the vast northern territories: "I was in Inuit territory last week. There is wind, but the transmission lines need to be increased."

"With Hydro-Quebec, we are looking at two things: what projects we can do quickly to connect them to the network - what we saw today and there will be others - but in addition to that, we must go into the territory further away and work on the transmission lines ... We are looking at where we can put wind turbines with a lot of wind and how we will connect them, which will require investments. We will have to work on transmission line projects."

Fitzgibbon reminded his audience and reiterated later in a scrum that the days of surpluses are over and that growth in demand is inevitable in a context of electrification, energy transition and decarbonization of the economy.


Fitzgibbon was quick to point out that the 23,000 MW of demand from large industry is too much for Hydro-Québec: "Right now, we don't have that capacity, so we have to choose."

"When we talk, for example, about large industrial projects, I talk to all the players and I tell them that it's not available now, but it will be one day."

The government's short-term goal is to double the installed wind power capacity in Quebec. More than 40 wind farms, representing nearly 4,000 MW of wind power, are currently operating in Quebec. However, this objective is much more ambitious in the long term and aims to quadruple this capacity within 15 years.

For Fitzgibbon, social acceptability should be at the rendez-vous since he intends to make the most of Quebec and the communities involved. The new projects will have to be carried out with a participation of the local community of about 50 per cent and the Quebec content will have to reach about 60 per cent of the global expenses.

It will also be imperative to develop these projects with the agreement and participation of Indigenous communities.

Hydro-Québec intends to increase its capacity in three ways: first, by investing in green energies such as wind, solar, green hydrogen and renewable natural gas. Second, by modernizing the turbines in its dams to increase their production and, third, through energy savings.


"The cheapest kilowatt hour is the one we save," the minister said. He then acknowledged in a press scrum that one of the biggest sources of waste and one of the most interesting potential savings is in improving the thermal envelope of Quebec's many older homes in the residential sector.

When asked about the possibility of providing significant support to owners of older homes who, even if the work is subsidized at 20, 30 or even 50 per cent, often cannot afford the rest of the considerable cost of new windows and envelope insulation, Fitzgibbon suggested that this kind of approach is already in the works.

"I think we will have no choice but to do it ... we have to do it. I don't have the programs and I think Hydro-Quebec is looking at that as well, but we have to start there," he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on March 16, 2023. Top Stories

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