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The loss of the Magdalen Islands' major electricity consumer -- a salt mine which recently shut down after flooding -- is complicating plans for a 5 MW wind plant planned by Kenetech Windpower using its KVS-33 405 kW turbine. The plant is to be connected to the islands' 70 MW diesel power grid, operated by Hydro Quebec, but there are concerns the wind farm could destabilise it. Kenetech's Richard Legault says that on summer nights, demand could drop to 10 MW, resulting in a 50% penetration of wind. This high penetration has been exacerbated by the closure of the salt mine, which drew 2-3 MW of power. Without the mine's demand, the project could be limited by technical and economic constraintst. Kenetech hopes to find a solution soon so construction can start this summer. An interconnection study by Hydro Quebec continues. Meanwhile, the US company which owns the mine has contained the leak, but has not yet said when the mine will reopen. The islands' winter peak power consumption is about 35 MW and average wind speeds are about 9 m/s.

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