Quebec launches wind and renewable energy projects to meet growing demand

Hydro-Québec, a government-owned public utility, will be putting out two calls for tender for massive renewable energy projects in an effort to meet growing demands for electricity while maintaining the government’s environmental commitments.

Premier François Legault made the announcement Wednesday while he was in the province’s Gaspé region, along with Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Julien.

A first block of 1,000 megawatts will be reserved for wind power and a second block of 1,300 megawatts will be devoted to renewable resources, the government said in a statement.

In the statement, Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, said the corporation forecasts Quebec’s demand for electricity will rise 12 per cent between 2019 and 2029.

She said this project will help respond to that growing demand.

Legault said community participation will be among the criteria that companies will have to meet in order to satisfy the call for tenders for 1,000 megawatts of wind power.

“We are taking concrete action for the environment and to create wealth with Quebec workers,” said Legault.

Quebec wind farms currently produce nearly 4,000 megawatts.

Wednesday’s announcement is part of the government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37.6 per cent compared to 1990 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

This is the second such announcement to come in just over four months. In December, Hydro-Québec launched two calls for tenders totalling 780 megawatts to meet the long-term electricity demand.

Remote communities in Canada are still overwhelmingly reliant on diesel fuel for heating and electricity generation, according to a 2020 report by the Pembina Institute, and are responsible for the burning of more than 682 million litres of diesel each year. 

Three million litres of that is burned annually by the small, twin Cree and Inuit communities of Whapmagoostui and Kuujjuarapik, in northern Quebec.

In the absence of future hydroelectric power projects on the horizon, Hydro-Québec has been moving into other domains such as wind and solar in recent years.

It has also formed a subsidiary designed to help customers improve their energy efficiency, and it is working on large-scale batteries that can store surplus energy.

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