Wind energy potential in Québec
Québec has outstanding potential for generating wind power that outstrips that of many other major existing wind-generating regions worldwide. The most promising regions are Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Moyenne and Basse-Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, and Nord-du-Québec.
Québec’s wind generation potential is enormous, partly because of the size of its territory. However, a report released in June 2005 assessed the potential that could be technically and economically connected to the Hydro-Québec grid at 3,600 MW, using current technologies and given the constraints of long-distance power transmission.
Québec also benefits from another abundant, flexible source of energy—hydroelectricity—that can be coupled to wind generation to meet power needs using a reliable, balanced transmission system. Wind energy and hydroelectricity make an ideal match.
The MERN has commissioned two studies of Québec’s wind energy potential:
- a program to measure wind potential was completed in 2003 in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Côte-Nord regions;
- an inventory of commercially-viable wind energy potential in Québec was completed in 2005, covering the whole of Québec. In addition, in 2005 the MERN commissioned a study of the possibilities for connecting wind farms to the Hydro-Québec grid.
These two studies have helped identify the workable potential and assess the ability to integrate wind farms into Hydro-Québec’s grid. They include:
- an assessment of the capacity to integrate wind energy into Hydro-Québec’s grid;
- a section describing the workable potential;
- a map of workable zones;
- an estimate of the average cost of generating electricity from wind, by administrative region;
- a map showing the wind resource, indicating wind speed and power density.