Research scientists advanced a bold strategy for 2400 MW of wind plant at the first public hearings of the Quebec energy board, La Regie de l'energie, into a specific set-aside for wind. The hearings in late May centred around a 250 MW wind set-aside which utility Hydro Quebec had announced but never advanced in 1996 (Windpower Monthly, April 1998). The scientists, from Hydro Quebec's institute for electricity research, proposed the utility undertake four separate wind power blocks of 600 MW over 12 years; four winning bidders could gain the right to develop 60 MW of wind power each year for a decade. This scheme, they said, will encourage improved technologies to cut the price of wind down to C$0.0325/kWh -- Hydro Quebec's commercial threshold -- as well as attract new industry to the province. The scientists were the most outspoken of the 20 other industry, environmental, aboriginal and labour organisations at the hearing. Hydro-Quebec's engineering union representatives were clearly lukewarm -- some said "minimalist" -- over wind energy, preferring the diversion of rivers into existing dams as a source of cheap, new electricity. The energy board's decision, expected in August, must be implemented by Hydro Quebec.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol