Amid a sprint to boost wind capacity, Hydro-Québec has selected Kingsley Falls, Quebec-based Boralex to deliver two new projects totalling 365 megawatts.
“These projects will contribute directly to meeting Quebec’s significant energy needs, and their selection reaffirms the essential role of independent power producers in achieving the decarbonization targets,” Hugues Girardin, Boralex’s North America executive vice president and general manager, said in a release.
Boralex, which also operates in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, submitted its proposals following a March 31, 2023 call for tenders from the public utility. Hydro-Québec says it needs between 150 and 200 terawatt-hours of new supply by 2050 to meet projected commercial and residential demand, and has set itself a target to integrate nearly 10,000 megawatts of new grid capacity by 2035. The wind expansion will contribute towards provincial targets which call for 60 TWh of new capacity by 2035.
The two winning bids are for the Arthabaska Wind Power Project in the Centre-du-Québec region and the Monnoir Wind Power Project in the Montérégie. Arthabaska is scheduled for commissioning in 2029, with 37 to 44 turbines and total installed capacity of 265 MW. The smaller Monnoir project will have 15 to 20 turbines and 100 MW capacity, and is scheduled for 2027.
The release says Boralex’s next steps include power purchase agreements with Hydro-Québec, as well as a continuing information and consultation process “to factor in the comments and interests of the host communities.”
“Addressing the local population’s concerns and interests has always been a priority for Boralex and its partners,” the release states.
Quebec’s push for wind energy has caused friction, with some disgruntled residents disgruntled saying decision processes are being rushed and communities aren’t being properly consulted.
“We have this urgency to move quickly,” Cédric Lascombe, vice-president of development and investment for clean energy developer Hydromega, told CBC News in September. At the time, residents near one planned project in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield decried being left out of the project’s early stages, which were being accelerated to meet the deadline in Hydro-Québec’s call for tenders.
Lascombe acknowledged that the developer felt pressed by the deadline, as well. “We’re aware that we’re rushing things,” he said, “and that it can be unpleasant for the people in the area.”