Denis Gagnon, Hydro Quebec's commercial representative for non utility generation (NUG), says the public utility is negotiating jointly with Montreal based York Research Canada Inc and Montreal entrepreneur Lam Chan Tho who owns the Eole. Under a long term contract between Hydro Quebec and Tho's project, the utility committed to purchase all the electricity generated by Eole at CAD$0.25/kWh for the first five years of the contract. No price was specified for the following years, when the parties would negotiate Hydro Quebec's payment "in good faith." The turbine, one of the world's largest, was downrated from its 4 MW design to about 2 MW of nominal capacity in 1987, and was shut down in April 1993 due to a bearing problem.
York Research Canada and Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark agreed on May 10 to form a joint venture named York-Vestas Energy Inc (YVEI) to develop wind plants in North America. Gagnon expects that YVEI will supply the eight Vestas turbines and may also rehabilitate Eole if technically and economically possible. An engineering feasibility study is expected shortly. "Our new agreement for 2.1 MW of contracted capacity (4 MW nameplate) will specify minimum and maximum annual energy ranges. If the York-Vestas group can repair Eole, then they could deliver up to the maximum allowable amount," says Gagnon.
YVEI president Dave Ward says the new firm intends to establish a manufacturing facility for Vestas turbines, possibly in Beauharnois, south of Montreal, which would manufacture turbines and blades for larger projects in the near future. These would be the first Danish turbines manufactured in North America. However, the first eight Vestas machines will be imported from Denmark. Ward was with Kenetech Corporation of San Francisco until early 1994.
Gagnon notes that another York-Vestas proposal, for a trio of 25 MW (contracted capacity) wind farms was received by Hydro Quebec in August 1993, one month before the deadline for bids for an additional 200 MW of renewable NUG proposals (Windpower Monthly, May 1994). However, when Hydro Quebec in May 1993 received Kenetech's proposal for two, 20 MW (contracted capacity) wind farms on the Gaspe Peninsula for construction beginning in 1995 (Windpower Monthly, July 1993), the 200 MW quota was completed and the offering was publicly terminated.
Kenetech is scheduled to pick its Quebec partner by late June, and to select a site this summer. "This project, with about 300 of Kenetech's 33M-VS machines, will have a nameplate capacity of 100 MW and be the largest wind farm in Canada and in eastern North America. It will help Hydro Quebec to appraise the technical and economic contribution of wind energy to large hydroelectric systems like ours," says Gagnon.
Meanwhile, the utility expects by mid June to choose between proposals submitted by Kenetech and SeaWest, also of California, for a 5 MW off grid wind-diesel project in the windswept Magdalen Islands (Windpower Monthly, December 1993). Kenetech and SeaWest both selected a site at Dune du Sud, one of the three proposed by the utility, after public consultations on the islands in September 1993. Zond, the third Magdalen's proponent shortlisted by the utility from among 18 candidates, has left the competition.