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Hydro-Québec is betting everything on wind power: Minister Fitzgibbon's epiphany

Éoliennes - Ecrinn- Burgazli - Unsplash

Victory: Hydro-Québec will close the door to any hydroelectric production project in its next call for tenders

This call for tenders will make it possible to increase electricity production by 4,000 MW or 10 % during the winter peak period and it will come from wind energy only. All other sectors such as small hydroelectric plants, biomass or solar power have been abandoned for the moment.

Our wish granted

This was announced on December 19 by the Minister of the Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon. And this is exactly what we had defended three days earlier in front of the Energy Authority through our partner, the Grouping of Environmental Energy Organizations (ROEE).

Minister Fitzgibbon therefore had his epiphany (it's in season...) and he took note of what all experts have been repeating for several years: the wind potential in Quebec is immense and inexpensive compared to hydroelectricity. It is first of all through this means that we will be able to achieve our carbon neutrality objectives for 2050.

Better: the minister asked Hydro-Québec to coordinate the establishment of future wind farms in areas where it will be possible to connect them to the Hydro-Québec transmission network more quickly and at reasonable costs. This is what we recommended in our brief submitted to the BAPE during the study of the La Romaine project in… 2009!

Rivière la Romaine Barrage - Alliance Romaine - Crédit le Nord Cotier - Hydroélectricité
La Romaine - Photo credit: Le Nord-Côtier

Basically, Hydro-Québec will have to map the territory and identify the areas most suitable for installing wind turbines. This will be an opportunity for us to demand that environmental criteria be included such as the areas to be deforested, the quality of these woodlands, the biodiversity of coveted places, the length of access roads, the protection of landscapes and the distance from residences. Environmental and social acceptability go hand in hand: this is what we defended before the Energy Authority and this is what we will defend in 2023.

This government decision allows us to obtain a short-term reprieve, but we have not won the battle. Against and against the advice of all experts, Prime Minister Legault is still convinced that dams will have to be built to meet the demand for electricity. And energy sobriety is still not seriously put forward.

With your help, we will do everything to make him listen to reason. 

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