Gaspe construction start delayed one year

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The construction start of the 100 MW Le Nordais wind plant proposed for the Gaspe peninsula has been put back a year. Hydro-Quebec and the project's international promoters agreed to the delay in order to "optimise" the wind farm's Quebec content. Completion of the first 50 MW has been put back to late 1998, while the second 50 MW will be delayed for 24 months until late 1999. The strategic delays dovetail with the slowdown in Le Nordais' development timetable insisted on by Quebec's environmental hearings agency, the Bureau d'audiences publique sur l'environnement (BAPE), in February (Windpower Monthly, May 1997). The Quebec cabinet approved Le Nordais on April 16, subject to BAPE's environmental terms. These include the siting of each turbine at least 400 metres from all habitation. Le Nordais must measure ambient noise and then turbine noise in the first half of the project and use this data for the subsequent construction of the next 50 MW. Le Nordais must, moreover, determine the project's impact on the bird population and on the scenic landscape. If carried through, Le Nordais will be Canada's largest wind plant, located near Matane and Cap-Chat. The four co-developers in Le Nordais are Axor and 3CInc of Quebec, Micon of Denmark and Ecowind, a UK subsidiary of Japan's Nichimen trading company. Hydro-Quebec will buy all of the energy produced by Le Nordais, under a pair of contracts concluded by Hydro-Quebec in December 1993 with a subsidiary of Kenetech of California, the original developer.

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