On schedule pending permits

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About 150 wind turbines in the 600 kW-750 kW size range will make up the 100 MW of wind power to be developed on Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula this year. Construction is scheduled for April to December. The Le Nordais project is by an international consortium made up of two Quebec companies, 3Ci and the Axor Group, a Danish wind turbine company, Micon, and EcoWind of the UK, which is fronting Nichimen Corp, a major Japanese trading company. Nichimen will finance Le Nordais.

Richard Legault of 3C Inc, which led the rescue of the Gaspe project last summer after the bankruptcy of Kenetech Windpower, says the consortium will be using the "largest turbines commercially available" to build the "most modern" wind plant. Micon, which formed a strategic project alliance in 1993 with Nichimen, will be the turbine supplier. Its alliance with Nichimen has already resulted in major power purchase agreements and contracts being planned by utilities and government bodies in the US and UK, claims Legault.

Momentum regained

During public environmental hearings into Le Nordais in November and December Legault, a former Kenetech employee, indicated that the project has recovered most or all of its momentum and is only awaiting final approval by the authorities. The final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project has been presented to Quebec's Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environment (BAPE). If the EIS is approved as expected by March 1997, the project could be completed by December 1997, on the schedule originally envisaged by Kenetech and Hydro Quebec which will buy the power generated.

Components for the project are already being ordered, says Legault, suggesting the developers expect a favourable response from BAPE. Micon and 3Ci have joined forces with a view to assembling components for Le Nordais in Quebec.

On the Gaspe Peninsula, preferred locations have been identified at Cap-Chat (with potential for 65 turbines) and Matane (103), with alternative, lower ranking sites in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts (75) and Les Boules (39). Cap-Chat is the location of a megawatt scale vertical axis wind turbine, now out of operation. Legault said the undulating terrain at the chosen sites presents "enormous constraints" to turbine micro siting. Moreover the area is heavily forested, presenting another constraint and a source of turbulence.

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