A bustling province with a proven appetite for renewables, Québec is a potential long-term market for wind power. It’s currently entering a busy period of construction and financing, and is ripe for investment. PES investigates.
Québec is Canada’s second largest wind energy market after Ontario. In 2003, the government set a target of 4,000 MW installed capacity by 2015. To achieve this objective the government awarded contracts for approximately 3,300 MW of wind energy capacity across three wind energy procurement rounds in 2003, 2005 and 2009. A small proportion of these projects (approximately 200 MW) have since been terminated, meaning that just over 3,100 MW is likely to be online by the end of 2015. However, only 1,505 MW was installed as of May 20131. This leaves in the region of 1,600 MW to be installed during the next two and a half years, alarge proportion of which still needs to be financed.
“The greatest opportunity for financing and commissioning between now and 2015 will be in Ontario and Québec due to the number of projects in the pipeline,” explained Cory Basil, Vice President, Development at EDF EN Canada. “We have recently commissioned just under 400 MW of wind in Québec and have about 600 MW to be brought online in the next two to three years alone.”
New wind procurement a sign of good intentions On May 10, 2013, the Government of Québec announced long anticipated plans to procure an additional 800 MW of wind energy. The details of the procurement program, including timeframes, are yet to be clarified but the move is welcome news for the industry since it represents a commitment to wind power post-2015.
Procurement will be divided into three blocks:
• 450 MW will be awarded through a RFP process to local communities and cooperatives in partnership with private developers. Within this, 300 MW will be awarded specifically to projects in the Gaspésie-Îles-de-la Madeleine and Lower St. Lawrence regions;
• 200 MW will be allocated to Hydro-Québec Production, a division of Hydro-Québec; and
• 150 MW will be allocated to the three Mi’gmaq First Nations of Québec, who have established a partnership with Canadian IPP Innergex.
The new procurement is encouraging and was widely expected. The new program is crucial in meeting the province’s 4,000 MW capacity targets. Attrition in previous RFP rounds means this target may not be reached until after 2015. The expected procurement round is a positive development for Québec’s wind energy supply chain, although the opportunity for private developers is uncertain.