Hydro-Québec on track to become co-owner of its first wind farms

0

Hydro-Québec sets the table for the co-ownership of its first wind farms. The state corporation announced the signing of an agreement with Energir and Boralex to develop three projects in the Charlevoix region.

The partnership provides for an equal participation of the three companies in a new wind expansion on the territory of the Seigneurie de Beaupré, Hydro-Québec, Boralex and Energir jointly confirmed Tuesday morning.

Construction costs and profits will be shared equally.

The wind projects bearing the name Des Neiges are planned to be deployed in three distinct sectors of the MRCs of La Côte-de-Beaupré, Charlevoix and potentially La Jacques-Cartier. Each of the sectors would include approximately 60 to 80 wind turbines and a capacity of 400 megawatts (MW), for a total of approximately 1200 MW.

“Hydro-Québec would buy the energy produced under three power purchase agreements in order to integrate it into the volume of energy available to supply its various markets,” according to a press release.

Without specifying a figure, the purchase price of electricity by the state company will be “competitive” and “more advantageous” than the Apuiat project, the spokesperson for Hydro-Québec told The Canadian Press. Caroline DesRosiers.

The Apuiat park on the North Shore provides that electricity will be purchased at a cost of approximately 6 cents per kWh, according to the contract between a company bringing together the Innu communities, Boralex and Hydro-Québec Production.

Details of the schedule and costs of the Des Neiges projects in Charlevoix are not disclosed, but the three companies are talking about investments of up to $3 billion.

It is specified that the decision to go ahead with each of the projects will be made by Hydro-Québec according to the evolution of its needs. Electricity demand is strong and the projects are quite advanced in terms of regulations, so construction could start quickly in the next few years, according to the public company.

For Hydro-Québec, this partnership is part of its Strategic Plan aimed at building a portfolio of 3,000 MW of wind power capacity with partners by 2026. The call for tenders process will continue in parallel.

“With the energy transition and the expected growth in Quebec’s electricity needs, it is imperative that we have the flexibility required in terms of supply. Wind power is one of the tools we have,” said Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, in a press release.

Boralex and Energir developed and operated the first three wind turbine phases on the Seigneurie de Beaupré. The projects were commissioned between 2013 and 2015, with a total of 164 turbines and a capacity of 364 MW.

Various studies are underway for the Des Neiges wind power projects. New information sessions are also planned, particularly with Aboriginal communities.

However, the agreement has been criticized by the Quebec Federation of Municipalities (FQM), which wants the region’s communities to be stakeholders in the announced projects. Michel Lagacé, president of the permanent energy commission of the FQM, recalls that this was the case for the RCMs of Bas-St-Laurent and Gaspésie during previous projects.

“I do not understand that the 1/8th in 3/8th government deprives those of La Capitale-Nationale; it would be a double standard, ”said the prefect of the MRC de Rivière-du-Loup, in a press release. “I can’t understand companies still doing this in 2022, after the success of existing community parks.”

Hydro-Québec, for its part, claims to have been discussing “for several months” with local and indigenous communities to participate in the project. We are currently in discussion to participate in the project with the Huron-Wendat Nation, the Innu communities of the territory, the MRC of La Côte-de-Beaupré, the MRC of Charlevoix, the MRC of La Jacques-Cartier and the municipalities concerned “, said Des Rosiers.

GOOD NEWS FOR BORALEX

Tuesday’s announcement confirms that the state-owned company is ready to partner with “experienced” wind power producers like Boralex, said Sean Steuart of TD Securities. “Although these projects are in their infancy, this partnership offers another transparent source of growth.”

In total, the analyst estimates that Boralex’s participation in the three projects would be less than one-third due to the addition of potential partnerships with municipalities and Aboriginal communities. He estimates that the Kingsey Falls-based company’s share will reach 300 MW, or 25% of the total of around 1,200 MW. “That would represent a 13% increase in its net capacity,” he said.

Around noon, Boralex shares were up $1, or 2.59%, at $39.56 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

— This article was produced with the financial support of the Meta and Canadian Press News grants.

— This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on April 19, 2022.

Share.

Comments are closed.