The Lac-Alfred Wind Farm in the Gaspѐsie area of Quebec will comprise 150 turbines with a combined capacity of 300MW. It is estimated that when completed, the development will provide enough power for 48,000 homes.
The project is valued at £380m (approximately $600m) and has been funded by EDF EN Canada.
Work began on the project during winter 2010, when trees were cleared on site. Following this, construction commenced in July 2011. During the outset of the construction, several improvements were made to local roads and a nearby intersection in order to accommodate for the transportation of components to and from the site via heavy goods vehicles.
The first 150MW will be connected to the Hydro-Quebec connect network in December 2012 and the second phase will be connected in December 2013.
For the first two years of the site’s operation, REpower Systems will manage the energy yielded by the wind farm. After this period Enxco will take control of the operation.
Manufactured by REpower Systems, the turbines are made from steel composite materials and each has an output of 2MW. The turbines stand at 80m tall and weigh 254 tonnes each. There are two different models, with 96 turbines featuring 46m blades and the remaining 54 featuring blades 41m in length.
The wind farm makes use of a number of ‘climate aversion’ turbines which are specifically designed for use during winter conditions. These turbines are also more robust than standard turbines.
The foundations are a mix of 50 tonnes of concrete and 320 tonnes of steel and they have a diameter of 60m. The connector network cables are made from aluminium and copper.
Three different cranes are being used on the site to unload components, lift the first power section and assemble the rotor. The largest of the three cranes weighs 11 tonnes.
The Lac-Alfred site was selected due to several factors, including excellent wind resources; the site’s distance from residential areas and the proximity of the hydro connect power line. Unsurprisingly, it is not the only wind farm in the area and joins a range of developments that have taken place over the last ten years.
EDF EN Canada Public Affairs Manager, Daniel Giguѐre, said: “This is a very important project for us as Lac-Alfred project is currently the biggest wind farm in Canada and it’s quite possibly the biggest wind farm in construction.
“However next year we expect to top this one, by constructing an even bigger wind farm in Quebec with 175 wind turbines.”