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Boralex, Énergir, Hydro-Québec JV for 1.2 GW wind farms

Boralex Inc., Énergir L.P. and Hydro-Québec have formed a partnership to develop up to three wind...

IMAGE: the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm

The Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm. (Courtesy Boralex Inc.)

Boralex Inc., Énergir L.P. and Hydro-Québec have formed a partnership to develop up to three wind farms, totalling 1.2 GW, in the Seigneurie de Beaupré area northeast of Quebec City.

All three companies will participate equally in the project. The energy generated would be purchased by Hydro-Québec under three power purchase agreements (PPAs) and distributed through its network.

The timing of the projects will depend on Hydro-Québec’s evolving needs.

The proposed projects, each comprising 400 MW, are:

– the Des Neiges Wind Farm – South, in La Côte-de-Beaupré;

– the Des Neiges Wind Farm in Charlevoix;

– and the Des Neiges Wind Farm – West, in La Côte-de-Beaupré / Stoneham-et-Tewkesbury.

All three projects would be located close to the existing Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farms, which generate 364 MW of power and are also operated by Boralex (BLX-T) and Énergir. Both companies have been developing the privately owned site for over 15 years.

Each site will have between 60 and 80 wind turbines, with the total investment potentially reaching $3 billion.

The Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm

“With the energy transition and the expected growth in electricity needs in Quebec, it is imperative that we have the required flexibility when it comes to supplies,” said Sophie Brochu, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, in a statement on the partnership. “Wind power is one of the tools we have at our disposal.

“As stated in our Strategic Plan 2022-2026, we want to combine our strengths with those of experienced partners from the private sector, therefore positioning wind-power development as an enabler of collective wealth for the benefit of Quebecers.”

The Strategic Plan notes over 100 TWh of additional clean electricity will be required to attain carbon neutrality in Quebec by 2050.

Field and environmental impact studies are currently being carried out. In the summer and fall of 2021, the partners implemented public consultation and information sessions, which will continue with several local stakeholders.

“The partners have committed to a collaborative approach in designing the projects with the host communities and the Indigenous communities located in the regions involved,” a release about the venture states.

Outside of wind power, Boralex also deals in solar energy, hydroelectricity, energy storage and thermal energy. Headquartered in Kingsey Falls, Que., it also has operations in the U.S. and France – where it is the largest independent producer of onshore wind power.

The Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm was developed by Boralex and an Énergir-Valener Inc. consortium in 2013, when Énergir was known as Gaz Metro. The wind farm originated with a 272 MW installation and in 2014, another 68 MW was added, operated by Énergir and Valener. In 2015, 25 MW was added, this time jointly operated by Boralex and the regional municipality of La Côte-de-Beaupré.

The power generated from these 164 turbines was sold to Hydro-Québec under a 20-year PPA. Investments on the first three phases totalled $1 billion.

Boralex says energy produced by the three phases of wind turbines prevents 775 tonnes of C02 annually from entering the atmosphere.

More on the wind farm partners

The Seigneurie de Beaupré land is owned by the Seminaire de Quebec, a Roman Catholic institution, and is the largest single private territory in the country at 1,600 square kms.

“At Boralex, we have been developing and operating renewable energy power facilities in Quebec and abroad for more than 30 years,” said Patrick Decostre, president and CEO of Boralex, in a statement. “We are pleased to share our expertise and know-how to promote Quebec’s resources for the benefit of our economy and the energy transition.”

Today, Boralex has an installed capacity of 2.5 GW and is developing an additional 3 GW in wind and solar projects, as well as nearly 200 MW in storage projects.

Énergir, the largest natural gas distribution company in Quebec, is also the largest electricity distributor and the sole natural gas distributor in Vermont. Elsewhere in the U.S. it generates energy from hydraulic, wind and solar sources. In November, 2017, Gaz Metro was renamed to Énergir to reflect this wider energy portfolio.

“This partnership reaffirms our commitment to pursue our contribution to the development of renewable energies while promoting local economic activity,” said Éric Lachance, president and CEO of Énergir, in a statement.

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