The Pekuakamiulnuatsh First Nation, the Atikamekw of Wemotaci, the Domaine-du-Roy MRC and Hydro-Québec announced a partnership for the development of the Chamouchouane zone in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, which could accommodate up to 3,000 MW of wind power capacity. This wind development initiative will become one of the largest in North America.

“This equal partnership perfectly embodies the vision we presented in our Wind Development Strategy,” said Michael Sabia, president and CEO of Hydro-Québec. “With our local partners, we will begin a joint and collaborative approach that will have benefits for all of Quebec. Together, we will lay the foundations for well-planned and coordinated wind development.”

This partnership, which could represent an investment of approximately $9 billion, is an important step in the implementation of Hydro-Québec’s Wind Development Strategy, announced on May 30, under which First Nations and RCMs participate from the outset in the development of projects, as partners and shareholders. The participations will be divided equally between the community partners and Hydro-Québec.

“This historic partnership represents an important milestone in the lasting relationship that we hope to see develop between the First Nations, Hydro-Québec and our partners. Our communities must be at the heart of large-scale projects such as this one, particularly with regard to social acceptability. In this sense, the involvement of community partners is essential,” said Gilbert Dominique, Chief of the Pekuakamiulnuatsh (Mashteuiatsh) First Nation.

The partnership was ratified by a decree of the Government of Quebec on June 12.

Given the egalitarian nature of the partnership, the planning of this initiative will be conducted jointly by the community partners and Hydro-Québec. By choosing to be shareholders, the community partners ensure that they also benefit from independent revenues that they can invest according to their priorities.

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Located in Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, the Chamouchouane zone covers an area of ​​approximately 5,000 km2 and stands out for the quality and scale of its wind potential. In the long term, various wind farms could be built there.

Starting next month, the partners will be carrying out initiatives that will confirm a first project in the zone, including the installation of equipment to collect data on wind quality and consultation with the community.

The development of the various projects targeting this area and their implementation will be done progressively and in coordination with the evolution of the electricity transmission network. The entire development of the area will be the subject of consultations with a view to social acceptability and optimal integration of wind farms in the territory.

“It is essential that Indigenous and regional communities work closely together for the future of Quebec. The Chamouchouane zone wind development project is another step towards an energy transition that will benefit everyone,” said Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy.

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Featured image credit: Getty Images

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