The obligation imposed on wind farm developers to install grid electricity where it is still available poses another problem, that of social acceptance. Larger wind turbines, which are located close to the Hydro-Québec transmission network, and therefore closer to populated areas and agricultural areas, are not always welcome.
He spoke to Boralex, which has targeted 400MW of wind energy potential in the Arthabasca region in response to Hydro-Québec’s recent call for bids. The company faced unexpected opposition and submitted a proposal to halve its production to 200 megawatts. Hydro-Québec requires promoters to prove the social acceptability of their project, in the form of a vote approved by the municipal councils and MRCs concerned.
Two of the municipalities targeted by the Boralex project, Warwick and St. Albert, have said no to installing wind turbines, dampening the promoter’s ambitions.
In other municipalities, there was a huge uproar at city hall. “The discussions were heated,” says Claire Rioux, mayor of St Elizabeth de Warwick.
Since neither the government nor the Quebec government wants to participate, it will be up to local elected officials, most of whom support wind turbines, to manage the anger of opponents. “It was a minority,” she explained during an interview with JournalismAnd they talked. »
A referendum was held, and the majority of citizens voted against the project, except for one of the five municipal sectors that accepted the installation of wind turbines there.
More than the visual aspect, it is the fear of losing farmland that motivates opponents. The Union of Agricultural Producers also spoke out against the Boralex project in the Arthabasca region.
Discussions are just beginning in rural Quebec. Hydro-Québec wants to double wind production capacity by 2030 and quadruple it by 2040.
“The required access to the electricity transmission grid means that many of the upcoming wind farms will be located in agricultural areas,” confirms the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture as part of its consultation on the future of agriculture in Quebec.
A wind farm located in an agricultural area results in a loss of available area for agriculture due to wind turbines and access roads. To date, Quebec’s Commission for the Protection of Agricultural Lands has approved 99% of wind farm projects on agricultural land.
For municipalities, as is the case for the MRC in Arthabasca which would be a contributor to the project if selected by Hydro-Québec, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
For St. Elizabeth-de-Warwick, where taxes generate $600,000 annually, the wind farm would generate an additional $200,000 in annual revenue, according to the mayor.
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