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Canada

A mixed bag of international bidders -- Nearly 8000 MW of responses to Quebec's call for 2000 MW

In Canada, more than 25 project developers and five wind turbine manufacturers have staked their ground in Hydro-Quebec's massive request for 2000 MW of wind power. The utility received 66 bids to build wind farms totalling 7724 MW of capacity in response to a call it launched nearly two years ago. It says it will evaluate the proposals over the next few months and announce the winning projects in spring 2008. Hydro-Quebec wants the first 300 MW delivered by September 2010, with another 300 MW to follow in 2011 and 350 MW in each of the following four years.

The diversity of bids is impressive, ranging in size from a 7.2 MW installation at Cap-Chat on the Gaspé Peninsula to a 499.5 MW project on James Bay in northern Quebec. The list of project proponents is equally diverse and includes several smaller co-operative ventures as well as industry heavyweights like the Canadian division of American Invenergy, Ireland's Airtricity and TransCanada Energy.

Calgary-based TransCanada owns 62% of Cartier Wind Energy, which won contracts for 740 MW of wind in Hydro-Quebec's first call for wind in 2004. This time around it submitted bids on its own for ten projects totalling 978.5 MW. Its partner in Cartier, Quebec's Innergex II, is also vying for contracts in this latest competition with three projects totalling 322.5 MW. Toronto's Northland Power, also a winner in the first call, is back with six bids totalling 744 MW.

French and Spaniards

Boralex Inc, a Quebec company active in France's wind industry, is looking to break into its home market, partnering with Gaz Métro, the province's natural gas utility, on three wind farms totalling 375.5 MW. Their projects are located in a vast stretch of undeveloped forest owned by the Séminaire de Québec, just east of Quebec City, where visual, sound and environmental impacts are almost nonexistent, the companies say. A Spanish developer, Enerfin Sociedad de Energia SA, is also looking to break into the Canadian market with a 100 MW project located southwest of Quebec City.

Under the terms of the call for bids, developers must guarantee the expenditure of at least 30% of the turbine costs in the Matane and Gaspé regions and at least 60% total project costs in the province. To meet those targets, developers had to partner with turbine manufacturers.

Manufacturers

The five manufacturers designated in the bids, says Hydro-Quebec, are General Electric, which won orders for all 990 MW purchased in the utility's 2004 call, Enercon and Repower Systems AG, both based in Germany, Quebec's AAER Inc, which has a technology licensing agreement with Germany's Fuhrländer AG, and EKUA, a Quebec co-operative linked to a Toronto-based subsidiary of Americas Wind Energy Corporation, which has the exclusive North American licence for Dutch-developed Lagerwey direct-drive technology.

A turbine manufacturer that did not take part in the Quebec tender is Siemens. According to the head of the company's wind business, Andreas Nauen, neither will it take part in processes like it. "We will not be driven by demand. We have to be convinced it will be economical," he says.

Repower CEO Fritz Vahrenholt says his company is working with one of its key clients, France's EDF Energies Nouvelles, in the call. EDF has formed a consortium with Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Canada, part of the UK-based RES Group, and Hydroméga Services, a Quebec developer, to bid eight projects with a combined capacity of 1348 MW. The partners plan to use Repower's 2 MW class machines. "In the US, we have been active in terms of huge wind park projects for a fairly long time. Winning the tender in Canada would be an important step for our further expansion on the whole promising North American market," says Vahrenholt. The company does not yet have a wind turbine in operation on the American continent, though 75 Repower turbines have been picked by EDF's American subsidiary Enxco for the Shilo 2 project in Solano County, California.

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