Hydro-Quebec will issue a request for proposals (RFP) for 2000 MW of new wind power later this year, double what it had originally planned to seek. The increase came at the request of the Quebec government, which owns Hydro-Quebec, and the utility was happy to comply, saying the "complementary development of wind and hydropower" will benefit its customer base. It will also, says CEO Thierry Vandal, help make Hydro-Quebec a world leader in integrating wind into a large power grid. "This is a major technical and operational challenge that we're prepared to meet," he says. Quebec's 34,000 MW electricity system has about 32,000 MW of hydroelectric capacity. The intended RFP will bring Quebec's installed wind capacity to 3500 MW by 2013. A recent study commissioned by the province concluded the utility could integrate 4000 MW of wind by 2015 without constraints on the operation of its network. The purchase of a further 2000 MW will result in an investment of C$3 billion in the province, as well as the creation of 4000 construction jobs and 800 permanent jobs in manufacturing and maintenance. Hydro-Quebec's first RFP for 1000 MW of wind, issued in 2003, required projects and manufacturing on the Gaspe Peninsula. But the industry, says Whittaker, is lobbying against similar restrictions this time around, arguing fewer constraints would allow developers to propose the lowest cost of electricity from their projects and promote manufacturing diversity. "The best way to go about this is to allow that development to take place all over the province, wherever it is most suitable," he explains.
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