Hydro-Quebec will begin construction on the 1550 megawatt (MW) La Romaine hydro-electric dam in next summer. At the same time, Hydro-Quebec will be developing smart grid control and load forecasting technologies focused on integrating hydropower with the company’s portfolio of wind farms.

“Hydro Quebec wants to be a world model for the safe integration of wind and hydro in a major electricity system” says Louis-Olivier Batty, spokesperson from Hydro-Quebec.

To prevent power variations in the grid, intermittent renewables such as wind need to be matched with flexible base load sources, which can be adjusted quickly along with the change in weather patterns.

Sean Whittaker said that such load-balancing techniques are not easy to achieve with coal or nuclear plants because their power output can’t be changed.

The Quebec government has asked private energy companies to supply 4,500 MW of wind power by 2015, similar to 10% of the province’s energy supply.