Montreal, October 6, 2011 – According to an Economic Note published today by the Montreal Economic Institute (MEI), several regions of Quebec could develop medium scale hydroelectric power plants (from 50 to 125 MW), a niche that has yet to be exploited and that would generate several million dollars' worth of private investments. F. Pierre Gingras, specialist in industrial engineering and associate researcher at the MEI, proposes seven hydroelectric projects with an interesting economic potential (taking leisure, tourism and real estate aspects into account) and a minimum impact on the environment.
"When we think of hydroelectric dams, the first things that spring to mind are gigantic projects like the one in James Bay, which are Hydro-Québec's specialty. But there are many projects of a more modest scale that could be put forward by local communities, whose economic impact analyses would take into account tourist and recreational as well as real estate considerations," says F. Pierre Gingras, specialist in industrial engineering and associate researcher at the MEI. He cites as examples the Taureau and Gouin reservoirs, which resulted directly from hydroelectric projects and are among Quebec's most heavily frequented leisure, fishing and outdoor activity sites.
For example, the dikes of the Montreal region's first hydroelectric power plant are still in place in the Lachine Rapids. It would be possible for the private sector to rearrange and properly secure the premises and install three or four new turbine generator groups for 45 to 60 MW of power. The project would enhance the shoreline of the LaSalle sector.
The author also reminds us that hydroelectricity is a clean and renewable energy source. It was officially recognized as such by 154 countries at the 2004 Bonn International Conference for Renewable Energies. Mr. Gingras estimates that each megawatt installed avoids on average the combustion of 2,500 tonnes of fuel and the emission of 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases, as compared to a thermal power plan like the Tracy generating station.
The Economic Note, entitled The Neglected Potential of Medium Scale Hydroelectric Projects, prepared by F. Pierre Gingras, specialist in industrial engineering and associate researcher at the MEI, can be consulted free of charge on our website.
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