Quebec’s 5,000 Wind Energy Workers Deserve Answers
Political and economic leaders appeal to Pauline Marois
QUÉBEC, April 23, 2013 – The uncertainty cannot continue for Quebec’s 5,000 wind energy workers. That was the message sent to Premier Pauline Marois by the many political and economic leaders who came to Québec from several of the province’s regions to demand that the government quickly solicit bids for at least 700 MW of wind energy, which would allow the wind energy sector to continue developing past 2015. The sector benefits the entire province, and in particular the communities that host and participate in wind energy projects.
“In recent months, the wind energy sector decided to adopt a constructive attitude, to talk, collaborate and partner with the government. Despite this approach, the government is silent, uncertainty persists and rumours abound, even though the wind energy sector injects approximately half a billion dollars into Quebec’s economy every year. Quebeckers can only wonder whether the government has the will to continue developing the Quebec wind sector and safeguard its thousands of jobs” said Jean-François Nolet, Vice-President of Policy and Government Affairs at the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
It must be remembered that in its Energy Strategy, the Quebec government committed to the production of 4,000 MW of wind energy between 2006 and 2015. On this basis, the industry developed, foreign companies settled in Quebec, educational institutions created new programs and new businesses came into being. “Not seeing this commitment through would be an unacceptable step backwards, as much for the workers and the sector as for the regions that have turned to wind energy to build their industrial base. Most importantly, wind energy provides Quebec with $87.6 million in fiscal and parafiscal revenues,” adds Jean-François Samray, President and CEO of the AQPER (Association québécoise de la production d’énergie renouvelable).
“Madam Premier, you cannot keep Quebec’s 5,000 workers—1,200 of whom are from the Gaspésie—in the dark,” declared New Richmond mayor Nicole Appleby on behalf of several municipalities, RCMs and the Union of Quebec Municipalities, which have agreed to demand a new call for tenders. “The Gaspésie is proud to contribute to Quebec’s economic development through wind energy, because the growth of the sector here has resulted in benefits that reach as far as Montréal.”
“The wind energy sector has had a positive impact on the entire province, with the jobs created in wind energy plants and company headquarters. Municipalities and RCMs have also benefited from multiple partnerships that have brought in additional opportunities for development,” said Maurice Bernier, Prefect of the Granit RCM.
“Local businesses like our own joined the sector in 2002 because its future was promising. Foreign companies have come to set up their Canadian head offices right here in Quebec. The expertise being developed here will be applied across North America,” stated Éric Bellemare, Director of Business Development at Marmen.
“Quebec was the ideal place for us to establish our North American headquarters, given its solid planning and long-term vision for the market,” explained Marc-Antoine Renaud, Quebec Manager at ENERCON Canada. “In this transition toward the next energy policy, the next 700 MW is needed to ensure the sector’s future.”
“Maintaining and developing wind energy is not just about the industry and its workers. Local communities and Quebec as a whole are also affected. Quebec is a North American leader in wind energy, and Montréal is the wind energy hub of eastern North America,” Nolet remarked.
Advocates of the socio-economic benefits of wind energy, who have come from all over Quebec, will head to the National Assembly at 2 p.m. to request a meeting with Pauline Marois. They will ask the Premier to end the uncertainty facing the industry’s 5,000 workers and their families. The wait has lasted long enough. If Premier Marois wants to keep Quebec’s wind energy sector healthy, she will have to finally solicit bids for the 700 MW of wind energy everyone has so eagerly awaited.
CanWEA is the voice of Canada’s wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its almost 400 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada’s leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country’s electricity from wind by 2025. The document WindVision 2025: Powering Canada's Future is available at www.canwea.ca.
About the AQPER
The mission of the Association québécoise de la production d’énergie renouvelable (AQPER) is to promote renewable energy among the general public, businesses and governments and to advocate for the responsible development of Quebec’s energy resources in all renewable sectors. The Association represents the interests of independent electricity producers concerned with the principles of sustainable energy.
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