May 3, 2004

New study shows large, viable wind energy resources within Quebec

The province of Quebec has 100,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy potential within 25 kilometres of existing transmission lines that is economically viable in the short- and medium-term, says a new study by Helimax Energy, one of Canada's leading wind energy consulting firms. If only 10% of this potential were captured, it adds, wind energy would account for more than 15% of Quebec's total electricity production.

The study was prepared for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), the Regroupement national des conseils rÈgionaux de l'environnement (RNCREQ, a municipal group), and a coalition of environmental groups, the Regroupement des organismes environnementaux en Ènergie (ROEE) to support their submissions to the Quebec Energy Board hearings on the province's energy future.

"This study makes it clear that wind energy can make a significant and substantial contribution to electricity production in Quebec," said CanWEA president Robert Hornung. "It also demonstrates that wind energy is not only good for the environment, it is an engine for economic development. Quebec should move aggressively to take advantage of this valuable natural resource," he added.

The Helimax analysis shows that over a 25-year period, an initial commitment to install 4,000 MW of wind energy in Quebec would generate $5.8 billion in investment and create 62,000 person-years of employment. Moreover, the study projects that more than 70% of these economic benefits would remain in Quebec.

"What this study shows is that Quebec's wind energy resource is equal to 35,000 MW of fossil fuel-fired generation-enough to meet almost all of the electricity needs of Ontario. With Canada's large land mass and long coastlines, it is likely that other provinces are also rich in wind energy resources," said Steven Guilbeault of Greenpeace, one of the seven organizations represented by the ROEE. "We challenge the federal government and all Canadian provinces to conduct similar studies," he added.

Clean, renewable wind energy is the fastest-growing source of electricity in the world. Canada's 327 MW of installed wind energy capacity produces only 0.16% of Canadian electricity. This ranks far behind global leaders like Germany (14,609 MW) and Denmark (where wind energy accounts for 20% of total electricity production).

More information is available from Robert Hornung at CanWEA, 613/598-4658, or Richard Legault at Helimax, 514/924-2175.

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