Wind-power producers look to Quebec for windfall

CanWest News Service
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

MONTREAL - Think big, sti! The motto of Elvis Gratton, one of Quebecs most beloved film characters, might also sum up Hydro-Quebecs stance on wind power.

MONTREAL - Think big, sti! The motto of Elvis Gratton, one of Quebecs most beloved film characters, might also sum up Hydro-Quebecs stance on wind power.

When the utility first experimented with wind turbines decades ago, it built them so large - more than twice the size of the current industry average - that the wind blew one away.

In 10 days, Hydro is to mark another mammoth-sized milestone. Sept. 18 is the deadline for the utilitys second and largest call for tenders for wind power. It wants to purchase 2,000 megawatts of wind power from private developers with selected wind-farm projects that are to be put into operation between 2010 and 2015.

Thats huge, said Jean-Thomas Bernard, a Universite Laval economist specializing in energy analysis. Last year, in the entire United States, less than 2,600 megawatts of wind power was developed, and here there is a (single) request for 2,000 megawatts.

Almost all the numbers associated with the tender are substantial, if not staggering. Hydro-Quebec says supply contracts for the new wind farms will generate about $4 billion in investments.

About 1,500 new full-time jobs in the wind industry in Quebec will be created between now and 2015 and there will be 43,000 person-years of employment during the construction phase, according to a study commissioned by the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

Back-of-the-envelope calculations by Quebec economist Gabriel Saint-Marie and U.S. energy analyst Joshua Magee point to the potential for handsome revenues for the firms that will operate those new wind farms.

Should Hydro-Quebec end up paying an average of nine cents per kilowatt-hour for the new power, each turbine would generate about $414,000 or, cumulatively, about $538 million a year in gross annual revenues over a span of up to 25 years.

Little wonder then that about 200 interested parties attended Hydro-Quebecs pre-bid technical conferences, ready to parlay the cost of preparing into a chance at the bonanza.

Magee, a senior analyst with Massachusetts-based Emerging Energy Research, shares the consensus view that competition will be fierce, particularly among would-be wind-farm developers. Most observers expect Hydro-Quebec will receive proposals for 8,000 megawatts of wind power.

Organizations: Hydro-Quebec, Universite Laval, Canadian Wind Energy Association Emerging Energy Research

Geographic location: Quebec, MONTREAL, United States

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page

Comments

Comments