Posted by: WCFN | July 20, 2012

Letter to Quebec’s Premier

Windfarms in Quebec, a redundant investment


To the Right Honorable Jean Charest
Premier of Quebec

July 17th 2012

Dear Sir,

The World Council for Nature (WCFN), considering that the implantation of wind turbines in the countryside causes collateral damages to the fauna and its habitat, wishes to bring to your attention the fact that investing in windfarms will not bring any positive return to the population of Quebec or to the health of the planet. You already have more clean energy than you need and must sell it often at a loss because your neighbors no longer really need it. It is therefore absurd to invest huge sums of public funds to produce more of it, at a price four times higher (1).

It is no secret that Hydro Quebec finds it increasingly difficult to sell its surpluses, which amount to about 8,700,000,000 kWh a year. It is also paying close to 150 million dollars each year to the thermal power station of Bécancour, to produce NO electricity. This amounts to $900 million paid to date, for nothing (2). What a miscalculation! What a waste!

Yet you are presently investing considerable amounts of public money into more generating capacity, imposing to Quebeckers windfarms that they don’t need. It is simply nonsensical. Windfarms won’t make Quebec “greener”, on the contrary. It is ahead of the world on that score, covering as it does its electricity needs with hydro power, which is “clean”.

What you are actually doing is replacing a clean and cheap energy which has no ill effects on the health of neighbors or on birds and bats (hydro), by another which causes multiple collateral damages and costs four times as much (windfarms) (1).

Windfarms destroy landscapes and kill millions of birds and very useful bats (3) for no gain whatsoever. They emit infrasound that cause sleep deprivation to neighbors, up to 10 km away for the larger models (e.g. 3 MW). Coming on top of plentiful hydro they duplicate the ecological impacts and financial investments, and this to satisfy the same demand for electricity. It is the opposite of ecological, and amounts to throwing away billions of dollars of public funds as wind energy is heavily subsidized.

Windfarms in Quebec are a redundant investment, completely useless because you already have too much energy, clean and cheap to boot. They are also redundant in the rest of the world, but in the case of Quebec it is plain as the nose in the face.

I live in Spain, a country which is technically bankrupt in part because of subsidies to renewable energies, which have increased the country’s sovereign debt by some 30 billion dollars to date, plus 8 billion more each year because the subsidies are guaranteed for 20 years. We produce the same amount of electricity as before, but it costs much more. As for our 18,000 wind turbines, they haven’t even reduced our consumption of fossil fuels, because of problems caused by their intermittency (4).

Have you considered the loss of value of properties that are or will be affected by the sight of these industrial installations, and by the infrasound they emit, which cause sleep deprivation? We are talking about cumulative losses in the billions of dollars, which will impoverish Quebec as a whole, in addition to rising electricity bills and the loss of tourism potential.

Last but not least, economists have shown that large subsidies and high energy prices both contribute to the destruction of jobs across the economy, whereas wind farms create very few permanent ones (5). Spain is a good example, with 25% unemployment.

Please, Mr Charest, do not destroy la Belle Province, its nature, and its future.

Contact :

Mark Duchamp
Tel : +34 693 643 736

Références :

(1) – «The wind-power rates are more than twice as high as nuclear, and four times those of hydro. »

(2) – Globe and Mail: “did Hydro Quebec miscalculate? ”

$900 million wasted with Bécancour, and a surplus of 8.7 TWh:

(3) – Wind farms kill millions of birds and bats a year:

(4) – Wind farms are redundant:

(5) – Five jobs destroyed for each “green job” subsidized:

Green jobs kill other jobs in the economy:

His radio interview:

The Beacon Hill Institute, 25 June 2009



  1. Thanks for your information,
    It can’t be devulged enough!

  2. Supporters of windfarms in Quebec argue that there are no more hydro-electric sites that may be developped profitably, and with this they pretend to justify the installation of unprofitable windfarms. This is silly enough as it is, but in addition they forget that there is a glut of electricity.

    Hydro Quebec produces too much energy, as mentioned in the above letter: 8.7 TWH yearly. In addition, they have been paying $150 million a year since 2008 to mothball the gas-fired power plant of Bécancour, i.e. 900 millions in total (including the 150 millions to be paid in 2013), as per this article dated June 30th 2012:
    “(Québec) Hydro-Québec paiera 150 millions$ l’an prochain à la société albertaine TransCanada pour qu’elle garde fermée sa centrale au gaz de Bécancour. Avec ce nouveau dédommagement, la société d’État aura ainsi versé depuis 2008 plus de 900 millions$ à TransCanada.”

    Hydro Quebec is selling some of its surpluses at a loss. It does have some long term
    contracts with US clients, but the electricity it supplies to them may or may not be included
    in what are called “surpluses”, being long term contracts. Be that as it may, Hydro Quebec is clearly being mismanaged by its owner, the Quebec government. The following article reveals some things of interest in this respect. First, according to this article published July 13th 2012, the Bécancour plant, which belongs to Trans-Canada Energy from Alberta, apparently receives closer to $200 million a year NOT to produce electricity.
    “L’exemple de l’entreprise Trans-Canada Energy, qui reçoit près de 200 millions $ par année
    de fonds publics pour ne pas produire d’électricité, avait mis le gouvernement libéral dans
    l’embarras ce printemps.”

    What is more, the same article reveals that Hydro-Québec has signed contracts to outsource $4.5 billion’s worth of electricity in the 10 next years, when it actually produces too much of it itself and is selling some of its surpluses “at a loss to the US”.
    “Selon l’Union des consommateurs, Hydro-Québec achètera près de 4,5 milliards $ d’énergie en
    cours des 10 prochaines années alors même que la société d’État est en surproduction et
    exporte à perte aux États-Unis.”

    There are three factors here: Hydro-Québec (HQ) lost two x-large industrial clients (aluminum and pulp & paper) who closed shop. Then there is the crisis which caused a drop in the general demand for electricity. Yet, despite this bleak context, and despite the glut of energy in the US and in Ontario, the government if forcing HQ to sign multi-year contracts to buy expensive wind and biomass energy. These are political decisions which make no economic sense whatsoever, and will cost Quebec dearly.
    “Selon M. Blais, Hydro-Québec n’est pas seule responsable de son malheur. L’achat d’énergie
    par biomasse ou éolienne* résulte de décrets ministériels. « Hydro-Québec n’est que
    l’exécutant et la Régie de l’énergie n’a pas vraiment son mot à dire, c’est le gouvernement
    qui décide », dénonce ce dernier.” *translation: éolienne = wind turbine

    “Au moment d’écrire ces lignes, un appel d’offres public d’HQD visait à «l’augmentation à 300
    MW» de la quantité d’énergie en vertu du programme d’achat d’électricité par biomasse
    forestière résiduelle. Nous n’avons pas besoin de cette énergie. C’est une autre perte de 175 millions par année à partir de 2016».”
    Translation: we don’t need this energy (300 MW of biomass as above). It will result in
    another loss of $175 million a year starting in 2016.

    In this context, adding generating capacity in Québec is a nonsense, be it biomass or
    windfarms. There is no excuse for squandering money like this, specially at a time when Health Canada recognizes that wind turbines may be a health hazard to neighbors:

    Dr. Robert Y. McMurtry, a prominent member of the Canadian health establishment, even recommends a moratorium on wind turbines:

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