FAQ

What is the difference between your project and the Innu’s project? NEW!
The Apuiat Project put forward by the Innus is much larger (200 MW) than the Des Cultures Project (24 MW). The electricity produced by the Apuiat Project is to be sold to Hydro-Québec Production, but a contract has not yet been signed. The electricity produced by the Des Cultures Project will be sold to Hydro-Québec Distribution under a contract signed in 2011 that is already included in Hydro-Québec Distribution’s supply mix. 

How does the cost of electricity generated by hydroelectric power plants compare to the cost of wind energy? NEW!
Wind farm electricity generation complements hydroelectric generation. When wind farms generate electricity, Hydro-Québec can reduce power generation at its plants and store water in its reservoirs for future use. The contract price for the Des Cultures Project is higher than the production cost at Hydro-Québec’s existing power plants because the cost of most of those power plants has been fully amortized. Since the term of the power supply contract was set at only 20 years by Hydro-Québec, the wind farm will be amortized over 20 years. However, we plan to operate the wind turbines over a much longer period. After the 20-year period, the wind farm’s production cost will be comparable to that of existing hydroelectric power plants.

What is the term of the power purchase contract?
The contract will be for a period of 20 years, effective the commencement date of energy deliveries.


Will there be new projects other than wind energy projects after 20 years?
It’s difficult right now to predict what technologies will be available in 20 years. Solar energy production is seeing rapid growth in several parts of the world, but is difficult to develop in this region given the amount of space needed for solar farms.

How long is a wind turbine’s useful life?
Wind turbines are certified for 20 to 25 years. However, Kruger will use its paper machine maintenance experience to significantly extend the useful life of wind turbines beyond that.

 
Can the wind turbines be dismantled and what will happen after 20 years?
The power purchase contract contains a clause requiring the creation of a dismantling fund. This fund will be used to cover the cost of removing the wind turbines and levelling the foundations to a depth of two (2) metres if, at the end of the contract, the wind turbines no longer produce electricity. If a new contract supersedes the first, the financial guarantees for wind turbine dismantling will remain in effect so as to ensure that funds remain available for potential dismantling.

Have all landowners been asked to sign options?
All landowners in the sector where the wind farm will be built have been asked at some point or another. Every landowner remains free to sign an option or not, as Des Cultures Renewable Energy has no power of expropriation.


Do landowners have a say in the siting of wind turbines on their land?
Yes, each landowner who has a wind turbine on his or her land is consulted as to its precise location, this is what is called micro-location.


Has the project been approved by all landowners with infrastructure on their land?
This is the case. Des Cultures Renewable Energy has signed options with all landownwers who will have some infrastructure on their land.

Will the wind farm be interconnected to the existing power line? NEW!
The wind farm is to be interconnected to the existing 25-kV power line that runs along rang Saint-Paul, in Saint-Rémi.

Is there wind energy project infrastructure on Chemin de la Petite Côte?
No, all wind energy project infrastructure is located south of the municipal core of Saint-Michel and Saint-Rémi.

 
Where will the wind farm be interconnected to Hydro-Québec’s grid?
Hydro-Québec TransEnergie has been asked to conduct an interconnection study to determine the interconnection requirements. For now, it’s anticipated that the interconnection will be on the 25-kV line that runs along rang Saint-Paul, in Saint-Rémi. The exact point has not yet been determined.

 
Will the current project be built at the same location as the project proposed in 2010?
In 2010, the Montérégie wind energy project comprised four possible wind turbine installation areas. The area south of Saint-Michel and Saint-Rémi was one of those four areas, but was not selected.

 

Why not put the wind turbines on infertile land rather than on farmland like in Montérégie?
Site selection depends first on wind quality. Several other factors are also taken into account, including proximity to load centres (reduced transmission costs and electrical losses), site topology for ease of construction, social acceptability. The Saint-Michel and Saint-Rémi region meets all these factors.

 
Is it necessary that all wind turbines be concentrated in the same area?
It is necessary to reduce the footprint of a wind farm otherwise the cost of the collector system and of the access roads would significantly increase if the wind turbines were too far apart. By grouping the wind turbines in a smaller area, the area required for wind farm infrastructure (access roads, collector system) is much reduced.

 
Has there been an evaluation of the wind energy potential on Kahnawà:ke’s territory?
There is not enough space on Kahnawà:ke’s territory to install more than one or two wind turbines due, on the one hand, to the way residences are scattered (it would be difficult to maintain the required separation distances between wind turbines and residences) and, on the other hand, to the proximity of the radars at Dorval airport.

Will the construction of this wind farm increase the cost of our electricity, as was the case when the Montérégie Wind Farm was commissioned?
Hydro-Québec rate increases are not tied to the commissioning of a given wind farm. Rate increases reflect Hydro-Québec’s overall supply costs and other operating costs, including energy transmission costs.


How is it that this project was approved after the Auditor General confirmed that wind power has cost consumers $2.5 billion?
This project was selected during a 2009 Hydro-Québec Distribution call for tenders for community projects and is part of a block of 4,000 MW of wind energy projects under Québec’s 2006-2015 Energy Strategy. Of the 12 projects selected, it’s the only one that involves a First Nation. The Auditor General’s analysis does not take into account the economic benefits associated with the $10 billion invested in building and interconnecting wind farms or payments to communities and governments totalling more than $150 million annually in regions where these payments are much needed.


What about the energy surpluses announced by Hydro-Québec?
The energy surpluses are an opportunity. When the James Bay plants were commissioned, surpluses were far greater than they are now. Those surpluses enabled Quebec to carry out a first phase of energy transition with a switch from oil to electric heating. We’ve now reached the second energy transition phase with the advent of electric vehicles, energy intensive computing centres, the knowledge economy, etc…

[Note – In its latest progress report released in November 2018, Hydro-Québec notes that, compared to the progress report published a year earlier, surpluses have decreased by 33 TWh over a ten-year horizon, due primarily to the anticipated loads added for cryptographic use applied to blockchains. In a case filed with the Régie de l’énergie a few months earlier, it reported service applications for this type of use totalling more than 18,000 MW, or more than 150 TWh annually.]

How will the royalties be distributed?
Landowners hosting wind turbines will receive an annual payment of $5,000/MW. All landowners who signed options will share 0.5% of electricity sales revenue. The municipalities will share between $120,000 and $240,000 per year, depending on the number of wind turbines on their respective territories.


How will the royalties paid to municipalities be managed?
It’s up to each municipality to determine how it spends the royalties it receives. Des Cultures Renewable Energy imposes no constraint on the use of funds.


What will happen to the landowner contracts and contributions paid to the municipalities at the end of the contract with Hydro-Québec?
The renewal conditions for these payments have not been determined. They will be renegotiated at the time of their renewal based on existing practices in the industry at that time. If there is no agreement, the wind turbines will be dismantled.

Is a lack of social acceptability the reason why the Montérégie wind energy project was not developed in the southern part of Saint-Rémi and Saint-Michel back in 2010?
It was not for lack social acceptability that the wind turbines were not installed in this area. It’s because wind quality was better in the wind farm’s other areas. Moreover, by using 2.3 MW turbines instead 2.0 MW turbines as initially planned, it was possible to reduce the number of turbines and, as a consequence, to reduce the footprint of the wind farm.


In a neighbouring RCM, the distance between a wind turbine and the closest residence is set at 2 km, why not use this distance instead of 750 metres?
In the Jardins-de-Napierville RCM, the required distance between wind turbines and residences is set at 750 metres. It would be impossible to develop a wind farm in the region if the minimum distance between wind turbines and residences was set at 2 km.


Will all residences be 750 metres from the wind turbines?
All wind turbines will be 750 metres or more from the nearest residence, as required by the RCM’s development plan.


Must wind turbines be a certain distance apart?
In order to avoid efficiency losses due to wind turbines being too close to each other, they generally need to be positioned so that the distance between them is equal to five rotor diameters in the direction of the prevailing winds. A distance equal to three rotor diameters suffices in the direction perpendicular to the prevailing winds.


Will there be overhead-lines?
All electricity transmission lines will be buried underground, except for the short section needed to connect to Hydro-Québec’s line.


How will you proceed when the collector system has to cross a waterway?
When crossing a waterway, cables will be buried by directional drilling and not by digging a trench.

Will the bats in the project area migrate due to the disturbance caused by wind farm construction? NEW!
Bats hibernate in abandoned mine sites, caves, grottos and abandoned barns. Some species do migrate south, returning after winter’s end, but not because of wind turbines. Non-migratory bats that come out of hibernation and returning migratory bats are nocturnal, meaning that they are active at night and rest during the day. They generally seek out roosting areas in mature woods, barns and other vacant structures. Wind turbines are positioned far from these habitats. The mortality risk stems from the fact that bats could collide with wind turbine blades when foraging near wind turbines. That is why it is important to position wind turbines a considerable distance from the identified habitats

What is the bird mortality rate in the Montérégie Wind Farm?
The mortality rate observed following monitoring over the first three years of operation is less than 1 mortality/wind turbine/year, which is far below the Canadian average. By contrast, mortalities due to collisions with high-rise buildings are estimated to be close to 1,500 times higher and those due to house cats close to 4,800 times higher.

Will the wind turbines generate ground vibration? NEW! 
No, even at the base of an operating wind turbine, no ground vibrations are felt when the turbine operates.

At what depth will the cables be buried? How will streams be crossed? NEW!
The collector system’s cables will be buried at a depth of 1.6 m. Streams will be crossed by drilling directionally below their bed so as not to disturb the aquatic environment and fish habitat.

How does a wind turbine produce electricity and how is that electricity delivered to Hydro-Québec’s power grid?
The electricity is produced by a generator activated by the rotation of the blades. The generator is located in the nacelle atop the wind turbine and the electricity is generated at a voltage of 600 volts. It is transmitted by cables to a transformer at the base of the wind turbine. In the case of the Des Cultures Wind Energy Project, the voltage is increased to 25 kV (or 25,000 volts). The electricity is then transmitted by underground cables to a 25-kV Hydro-Québec distribution line.


Will the wind turbines be manufactured in Québec?
The power purchase contract includes local manufacturing clauses: 30% of the cost of the wind turbine must be spent in the Gaspésie / Matane region and 60% of the total cost of the project must be spent in Québec.


Will this project’s wind turbines be the same colour as those in the Montérégie Wind Farm?
The Montérégie Wind Farm’s wind turbines were manufactured by Enercon and they have distinctive colours on the lower part of the tower. If another manufacturer is selected, the colour of the tower will be uniform, either white or light grey.


Will you be dealing with the same wind turbine manufacturer as for the existing wind farm?
That is an option, but we’re also examining other options as several manufacturers offer wind turbines that could meet our needs.

Will the economic benefits to the municipality be less with five wind turbines than with six? NEW! 
Voluntary payments to the municipalities are calculated based on a dollar amount per MW installed in a municipality. If the project comprised five wind turbines rather than six, the wind turbines would be more powerful to ensure the wind farm still generates 24 MW. So, the same amount would be paid out to the municipalities.

What are the project’s expected earnings?
This information is confidential. However, as an example, a $70-million project financed with 20% equity, or $14 million, and an expected return on investment of between 8% and 12%, the estimated annual profit would average $1.4 million. This profit is not guaranteed and the developer assumes all the risks.

How will the economic benefits for the Mohawk community be distributed?
Kahnawà:ke Sustainable Energies, which is investing 30% of the project equity, will be entitled to 30% of the profit. The amounts will be distributed evenly between the Kahnawà:ke Economic Development Commission, which is responsible for professional development and small business support programs, and the Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Council, to finance the community’s services and infrastructure.

What wind speed and wind turbine height did you use to assess the wind farm’s noise impacts? NEW! 
A wind speed that is high enough for wind turbines to reach their maximum noise level, which is between 9 m/s and 15 m/s depending on the type of wind turbine, is used to conduct noise level simulations. As regards wind turbine size, noise simulations confirmed that the 40-dBA criterion was respected for all wind turbines considered for the wind farm. 

 

Do noise simulations take into account the combined operation of all wind turbines? NEW!

Noise simulations are carried out assuming that all wind turbines are operating.

 



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