First anti-icing wind turbine blades will power Quebec community

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Senvion Canada announced today that it and partner LM Wind Power have begun production of what it calls the longest wind turbine blades in Canada. The blades, which are 55.8 metres long, will be used in a wind turbine installation in Quebec consisting of forty-six Senvion 3.2M114 Cold Climate Version 3MW turbines. The blades, equipped with an anti-icing system for the harsh winter climate of Quebec, will be made by LM Wind Power and will be the first of their kind to be installed in North America.

The Mesqui’g Ugiu’s’n (MU) wind farm where the turbines are being constructed is a joint partnership between three Mi’gmaq Nations in Quebec and developer Innergex. It will have a capacity of 150 MW. The towers for the 3.2M114 turbines will be 100 metres tall. Senvion claims that the above-average height of the towers allows the 3.2M114 turbines to generate 10 per cent higher yield than its shorter version. The MU wind project is expected to provide renewable energy for approximately 30,000 households in the Gaspésie region of Québec. It will be operational by December 2016.

The CEO of Senvion in North America commented that the production of the anti-icing blades was of “tremendous significance” for the wind industry in Québec. Not only is wind power increasingly cost competitive with new hydro power, but it is also increasingly innovative. The blades with their anti-icing system are perfect for communities that want to benefit from wind power but have to cope with a cold climate. Helmut Herold said, “what we are producing hers is community friendly technology.”

The executive director of the business corporation of the Mi’gmaq called the MU project “a great historic achievement.” Troy Jerome said that the project brought together the Mi’gmaq nation, the people of Gaspésie, the German technology of Senvion, and LM Wind Power, to create “beautiful clean green energy.”

The contract for the Senvion turbines was signed in October, 2014. The MU wind farm is the largest such project undertaken to date between First Nations and the government of Québec. It is expected to generate profits of $150 million for the Mi’gmaq over the next twenty years.

Senvion Canada’s parent Senvion, headquartered in Hamburg, is one of the largest wind power companies in Germany, competing with the sector leader Siemens. It was recently bought by Centerbridge Partners investment managers with the aim of expanding into new markets such as India and Chile. Its current core markets are in Germany, France, Canada and Australia, as well as the United States, Turkey and Japan. Sales in 2014/2015 were 1.93 billion euros ($2.9 billion CDN). Demand for wind power globally is expected to increase by 4 per cent to 53.5 gigawatt this year, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

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