Quebec energy board to review province's needs

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The Quebec energy board is conducting a review of the province's needs to 2010 and examining its options -- "in particular in renewable energy such as wind" -- for meeting growing electricity demand. The Régie de l'énergie's review comes at the request of the provincial government, which was forced to suspend its approval of Hydro-Quebec's proposed 840 MW Suroît gas-fired power plant near Montreal in the face of public opposition to the project. Opponents say the C$550 million project is unnecessary, costly and flies in the face of the government's commitment to reduce greenhouse gases under the Kyoto accord. They argue that Quebec's energy needs can be met through conservation and the development of cleaner sources of power. Hydro-Quebec says that without the Suroît project the province could be facing a supply shortage by 2007-2008. It wants to build the plant to bridge the gap until it can bring more hydro projects, which can take ten years to bring into full production, online. The utility currently has a request for proposals out for 1000 MW of wind power through 2012. Bids are due in June, with deliveries to start by the end of 2005. The Régie has until the end of June to hold public consultations and report back to Quebec's energy minister with its recommendations.

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