Big Wind Plant Gets Go-Ahead In Quebec

Right on the heels of a report that wind power installations are surging in Canada comes word that Quebec has authorized the construction of a 150-megawatt (MW) capacity plant in an area about an hour south of Quebec City, 20 miles from the U.S. border.

The French company EDF Energies Nouvelles (EDF EN), working through its Canadian arm, is behind the Massif du Sud project. Nearly all of the 75 2-MW turbines will go on public lands, including within the Parc du Massif du Sud, which is also home to Quebec’s highest-elevation ski resort. The company said the 40-square-mile area is “notable for the quality of (its) wind resource.”

Massif du Sud wind power, Quebec, EDF EN

image via Shutterstock

EDF EN also touted the economic benefits of the development. Around 200 workers will be employed directly in the construction of the plant, and eight to 10 workers will be needed to run it once it’s operating. But it sounds like there will be a lot of indirect jobs created, as well; EDF EN listed a number of Quebec contributors to the project: “LM Wind Power will supply the blades from their Gaspé plant; towers will be produced at Marmen’s Matane and Trois-Rivières plants; and SEG Woodward will assemble the electrical converters in New Richmond,” the company said.

Massif du Sud wind power, Quebec, EDF EN

image via Parc regional du Massif du Sud

As we reported previously, wind is on track to have a record year in Canada. In 2010, 690 MW of wind power capacity was installed in Canada, but the Canadian Wind Energy Association is projecting the country will see 1,338 MW of new wind capacity come online in 2011. Canada is now expected to end 2011 with more than 5,300 MW of total installed wind energy capacity – enough to power more than 1.5 million Canadian homes. This is up from only 198 MW at the end of 2001.

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.