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Hydro-Québec to Develop Large-Scale Wind Farms, Targeting 10,000 Megawatts by 2035

Hydro-Québec announced on Thursday that it will start constructing and operating wind farms, a role previously reserved for private sector developers. This move aims to add 10,000 megawatts of new wind capacity to the province’s energy network by 2035, surpassing the capacity of the Manic-Outardes hydroelectric complex.


Hydro-Québec projects a 20% savings in energy costs with this new wind capacity, helping to keep rates low for Quebec residents. The utility plans to act as the main contractor and shareholder for all wind projects exceeding 1,000 megawatts, collaborating closely with First Nations and municipalities, who will also hold shares in these projects.

Historically, wind development in Quebec involved smaller projects ranging from 20 to 350 megawatts, managed by private developers. Hydro-Québec’s CEO, Michael Sabia, explained that the shift to larger, utility-led projects is necessary to meet the province’s growing electricity needs, driven by the rise of electric vehicles, battery industry, and efforts to decarbonize activities.

To achieve the ambitious 10,000-megawatt goal, each new wind site will require several hundred turbines. For comparison, the largest current wind farm in Canada, the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm, has 164 turbines with a capacity of 364 megawatts.

These projects will be unprecedented in size and scale, requiring social acceptability. Hydro-Québec is focusing on northern Quebec’s vast, open spaces to minimize community impact. Both political and environmental leaders have expressed support for this strategy, recognizing its potential benefits for planning, predictability, and minimizing environmental impacts.

While taking the lead on major wind projects, Hydro-Québec assured that it is not establishing a monopoly. Private developers will still handle smaller-scale projects up to 350 megawatts, continuing the trend of the past two decades.

Sabia emphasized the importance of community acceptance for the success of these projects, stating that no project will proceed without local support. This approach aims to provide socially acceptable, cost-effective energy solutions to help decarbonize Quebec’s economy and create wealth.

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