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Wind industry blows its horn  

Credit:  By LYNN MOORE, The Gazette, www.montrealgazette.com 3 November 2010 ~~

By 2015, Quebec’s wind energy industry will have created more than 1,300 new permanent jobs and 37,000 jobs during construction phases, an industry-commissioned study says.

“These are more than just numbers, these are real jobs for people living in areas of the province that have been hit by declines to other industries,” Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, said Tuesday.

The study, released during CanWEA’s annual conference under way in Montreal, is part economic assessment of a fledgling industry, part sales pitch.

CanWEA wants to convince Quebec to expand the province’s wind-energy sector beyond the 4,000 megawatts of installed capacity slated to be in place by 2015 by adding another 8,000 MW by 2025.

Should Quebec decide to add that 8,000 MW to its energy portfolio, up to 91,000 construction jobs would be created between 2016 and 2025 while another 4,580 jobs would be created during the life of the new wind farms, CanWEA contends.

“Wind is still a policy-driven industry,” Hornung told delegates during yesterday’s plenary.

“If we don’t actually deliver jobs, it will be harder” for governments to enact policies that favour wind-energy development.

To nail down the job numbers and overall economic benefits of Quebec’s wind sector, CanWEA engaged economist Jean-Claude Thibodeau, retired director of Institut national de la recherche scientifique, and Hatch consulting group.

In addition to job creation, the sector delivers direct economic benefits to the municipalities and landowners that host wind farms, the study said.

Annual royalties and rents will climb to just over $25 million in 2015. And CanWEA estimates that those amounts could reach $95 million a year in 2025.

The jobs were measured in person years -for instance, two part-time employees would create one 12-month full-time job -and while the jobs are described as direct or indirect, they all relate to wind-farm development.

Jean-Francois Nolet, Can-WEA’s policy manager for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, said a direct construction job would involve a job at the wind farm site while an indirect job could be a job at a plant that manufacturers wind turbine blades.

In addition, Quebec is developing expertise in wind energy, with specialized programs in colleges, universities and research sectors, the study noted.

Quebec currently has 663 MW of installed capacity, on par with Alberta’s 656 MW and well behind Ontario’s 1,298 MWs.

Quebec, one of the largest producers of hydroelectricity in the world, sees wind as diversifying its green options.

Source:  By LYNN MOORE, The Gazette, www.montrealgazette.com 3 November 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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