The 224.25 MW Nicolas-Riou Wind Project was recently inaugurated in Quebec. Owners Quebec–Régie intermunicipale de l’énergie du Bas-Saint-Laurent (RIÉBSL), the Régie intermunicipale de l’Energie Gaspésie-Îles-de-la-Madeleine (RIÉGÎM) and EDF Renewables, along with around 170 guests, were on hand last week to celebrate the inauguration.
Present at the inauguration, Mr. Jean D’Amour, Minister Delegate for Maritime Affairs, Minister responsible for the Bas-Saint-Laurent region and Member for Rivière-du-Loup – Témiscouata, took the opportunity to highlight the contribution of the workers and various stakeholders in the project.
“I am very happy with the completion of this wind farm in Lower Laurentian territory,” he said. “This project is certainly a major environmental project, but also represents a significant contribution to the economic development of municipalities and RCMs in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region.”
Located in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, on the public and private lands of TNO Boisbouscache and the municipalities of Sainte-Françoise, Saint-Mathieu-de-Rioux, Saint-Médard (RCM of Basques) and Saint-Eugène-de-Ladrière (RCM of Rimouski-Neigette), the Nicolas-Riou Wind Project represents an investment of nearly CAD 500 million.
“Pride is the word that sums up the last nine years of commitment to build Canada’s largest community wind farm. This is a very nice private-public achievement resulting from the pooling of the skills of both partners,” said Michel Lagacé, President of RIÉBSL. “It is estimated that 50% of the hours worked resulted from Bas-St-Lauren contractors, half of whom are based in one of the two RCMs that host the project.”
Lagacé added: “”During the 18 months of construction, the Nicolas-Riou wind farm generated direct benefits of approximately $31 million in wages and purchases of services and materials in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, of which more than half was in the RCMs of Basques and Rimouski-Neigette.”
The wind farm, owned 50% by EDF Renewables, 33% by RIÉBSL, and 17% by RIÉGÎM, is comprised of 65 Vestas V117 wind turbines with a capacity of 3.45 MW each. The construction phase began in June 2016 and involved more than 400 workers at its peak. Since the commissioning in January 2018, the Project employs ten full-time operations and maintenance personnel.
“In addition to the profits distributed to public shareholders (forecast of $8 million annually over the next 25 years), annual contributions of $1.1 million will also be paid to the two RCMs during the life of the project,” explained Simon Deschênes, President of RIÉGÎM. “These are considerable sums that can be used at the discretion of communities, particularly as levers for development projects.”
Nicolas-Riou is one of eight wind projects awarded to EDF Renewables in the context of Hydro-Québec Distribution’s 2008, 2010 and 2013 tenders. It is also the company’s fifth project held in partnership with RCMs or Aboriginal communities. The other four are La Mitis (24.6 MW), Le Granit (24.6 MW), Rivière-du-Moulin (350 MW) and Lac Alfred (300 MW). To date, EDF Renewables has commissioned 1,600 MW of wind and solar projects in Canada.
“The strong partnership formed with RIEBSL and RIEGÎM demonstrates EDF Renewables commitment to working collaboratively with local communities and stakeholders and the success that results from pairing project development experience with local expectations, skills and talents,” said Cory Basil, Vice President Development for EDF Renewables Canada. “We are thankful for the vision, the dedication and commitment of our partners and are very proud to share in this celebration today to recognize the completion of Nicolas-Riou – a project that will bring significant economic benefits to the RCMs during its operation today and for many years to come.”
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