Wind power generation |  Quebec wants to give Hydro-Quebec more time for its tender

Wind power generation | Quebec wants to give Hydro-Quebec more time for its tender

(Montreal) Quebec will give Hydro-Quebec more time to publish a tender for the production of wind energy. The projects would not have been carried out under optimal conditions if the government corporation had not had more time, according to Economy, Innovation and Energy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon.

Hydro-Québec was due to publish the criteria for two tenders, announced last August, for a 1,000 megawatt (MW) wind power block and another 1,300 MW renewable energy block, by December 31.

However, the Crown Corporation needs more time to establish the criteria for the tender. “What Hydro-Québec has realized is that if there is no additional data, there could be requests for projects in places where it would not be possible to do it quickly,” said Mr. Fitzgibbon.

By giving Hydro-Québec more time, the minister believes that the projects will be carried out more quickly in a context in which the Crown corporation anticipates that it will need new supplies in 2027. faster for deployment. Even if we are going to lose two, three months, we are going to gain time. »

Hydro-Québec anticipates Quebec’s electricity demand will increase by 25 terawatt hours (TWh) or 14% between 2022 and 2032, according to its 2023-2032 supply plan it filed with the Régie de l’énergie in November.

The publication of the tender is now expected by the end of March and the projects could come online around 2027.

The Legault government is thus allowing the state company “to turn around, prepare a good map, prepare the ground for places where on the one hand it is socially acceptable, where there is wind and transportation can be done relatively quickly,” he summarized. the minister.

The location of the projects is a determining factor in the cost of these. Given more time to write the call for bids, Hydro-Québec could favor sites near transmission lines, among others. “We wanted to prevent the private sector from coming up with projects that make sense to them, but to us they don’t make as much sense on a social level as they do on a transportation level. »

Mr. Fitzgibbon, who inherited the Energy portfolio last October, assures that the postponement of the calls for bids is at the request of Hydro-Quebec. This decision should not be seen as a lack of knowledge of the state company’s strategy on his part, he assures him.

At Hydro-Québec, we welcome the postponement of calls for bids. The priority was to be able to deploy the projects “quickly”, explains spokesman Maxence Huard-Lefebvre. “In theory, we can create wind projects anywhere on the Quebec map. Except there are places where we can do it faster and others where it will require more investment. [dans la capacité du réseau de transport de l’énergie]. »

The initially planned “renewable energy” block will now also be used for wind power, Mr. Huard-Lefebvre confirmed.

In total, the two 2,300 MW tenders will be converted into 4,000 MW tenders measured in installed capacity. This takes into account that an installed capacity of 3,000 MW is needed to obtain the equivalent of 1,300 MW of wind power.

The calls for bids would thus double the installed wind capacity in Quebec, which is close to 4,000 MW.

more predictability

By going back to the drawing board, Hydro-Québec could offer greater predictability to the private sector, according to Mr. Huard-Lefebvre. “We have decided to give clear information to the industry of what these capacities are, according to the zones on the map of Hydro-Québec’s transmission network. So that the industry has a better understanding and can make decisions accordingly. »

This is an industry request for more information on this. “The industry needs to understand network congestion more transparently,” Chairman and CEO Gabriel Durany said in an interview. We do not want to develop a wind farm in a place where the grid is not capable of carrying it. »

Mr. Durany believes that Hydro-Québec is doing the right thing in providing clarification to the RFPs. However, time is running out if we want to ensure Quebec’s energy transition, he warns.

The realization of a wind project takes four years, which would take us to 2027 at the earliest, at which time the state company anticipates that it will no longer have surpluses. “It’s a race against time,” Mr. Durany said. […] We can have objectives that are linked to our climate goals in 2030. It is not because we are in 2023 [dans quelques jours] let’s not be late. »

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