Quebec board wants annual 50 MW wind set-aside

An annual set-aside for 50 MW of new wind power capacity over a nine year period from 2002 has been recommended by the Quebec Energy Board. The set-aside would result in 450 MW of wind power by 2011. The scheme is to be integrated with a future Hydro-Quebec Resource Plan and appears to correspond to the manufacture in Quebec of 60-70 wind turbines rated at 750 kW each year. The board also recommends a maximum price for wind of C$0.058/kWh. This is the same price that Hydro-Quebec has agreed to pay for electricity from the 100 MW Le Nordais wind farm under construction on Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula (page 33). The Board argues that the Quebec government should shoulder the difference between the price paid for wind power by Hydro-Quebec and the price paid for hydro. The difference is estimated at $3 million in 2002 and $19 million annually after 2011. Announcing the set aside last month, the board describes it as an important vehicle for the creation of a Quebec industrial infrastructure of sufficient scope and durability to generate economic benefits in terms of jobs, regional and tourist industry development, and also the export of wind turbine components and electricity generated by wind turbines. Quebec's energy minister, Guy Chevrette, initiated an inquiry into a proposed set-aside for wind in December 1997 and the board held public hearings on the size, scope and timing of the scheme. In the summary of its report, the board regrets the lack of two sets of data: Hydro-Quebec's Resource Plan and knowledge of its future electricity production costs.