Hydro-Quebec approves 2,004 MW of wind-power farms

MONTREAL, May 5 (Reuters) - Hydro-Quebec said on Monday it accepted 15 bids from groups aiming to develop a total of 2,004 megawatts of wind-generated electricity that would come on stream from 2011 to 2015.

Capital outlays for the wind farms is estimated at C$5.5 billion ($5.4 billion), including C$1.1 billion for transmission infrastructure, the Quebec-owned utility said.

The projects are dispersed across a wide swath of the province, from south of Montreal, up along both sides of the St. Lawrence River toward the Gaspe and North Shore regions.

“It ensures a supply of renewable energy at a highly competitive cost for wind power,” said Thierry Vandal, president and chief executive of Hydro-Quebec, which generates and distributes most of the electricity in the province.

Hydro-Quebec said the average price offered by the winning bids is 10.5 Canadian cents a kilowatt hour in total.

That price includes 8.7 Canadian cents for the wind energy, 1.3 Canadian cents for transmission, and an estimated 0.5 Canadian cents for network balancing service provided by Hydro-Quebec Production.

Winning bidders included a consortium led by Boralex Inc BLX.TO and Gaz Metro Ltd GZM_u.TO, which got approval for two projects with a total installed capacity of 272 MW.

Boralex said the consortium had teamed up with closely held wind turbine manufacturer Enercon GmbH, which planned to set up a components plant in Quebec.

Aside from Enercon, REpower Systems AG RPWGn.DE was also listed as a wind turbine manufacturer for some of the projects.

Among the other winning bids were those by Kruger Energie Inc, Invenergy Wind Canada ULC, St-Laurent Energies and Enerfin Sociedad de Energia SA.

Hydro-Quebec had issued the tender call for the contracts on Oct. 31, 2005.

The utility said it will draw up contracts with the project proponents within the next few months. To proceed, the contracts will require approval of Quebec’s energy commission and environmental and municipal permits. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Robert Melnbardis; editing by Rob Wilson)