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.
Wind Potential Measurement Program
The Wind Energy Potential Measurement Program, known by its French acronym PMPE, was introduced in 2003 to provide information on the wind energy potential in the Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Bas-Saint-Laurent and Côte-Nord regions.
Amounts totalling nearly $2.3 million were spent between 1998 and 2003 to collect, analyze and process data on the wind energy potential in these regions using a specialized software application. The Program data is available from the Géoboutique Québec site, at a cost of $ 142.
Reports Produced (French only)
One of the studies completed as part of the inventory is available in English: Hydro-Québec Integrated Network Integration Capability with Respect to the Addition of Wind Energy Generation .
- Inventaire du potentiel éolien exploitable du Québec
Cartes des gisements éoliens exploitables
Vitesses moyennes du vent
Densités de puissance moyennes du vent
Hors zones restrictives et harmonisées
Hors zones restrictives
The GéoÉolien tool can be used to consult the interactive wind energy deposit map of Québec. The tool’s data can also be used to create, expand, amend and produce maps. The tool is available on a DVD from Géoboutique Québec at a cost of $57.