Desjardins backs wind farms scheme in eastern Quebec and the Magdalen Islands

The scheme backed by the Canadian finance co-op includes building four wind farms with a combined output of 922 MW

Canadian financial co-op Desjardins is supporting a project to build and operate wind farms in eastern Quebec and the Magdalen Islands.

The Alliance de l’Énergie de l’Est scheme is run by a coalition of 209 municipal and Indigenous governments representing 16 regional county municipalities in the region.

Desjardins will give the alliance CA$350m (£209m) to invest in renewable energy projects and qualify for requests for proposals from Hydro-Québec.

“The unique financing structure we’ve established with Alliance de l’Énergie de l’Est will have considerable financial impacts in eastern Quebec and further establish Desjardins as a catalyst in the energy transition,” said Desjardins Group president and CEO, Guy Cormier. “Our work with local partners to develop and build out renewable energy in Quebec is part of Desjardins Group’s core values.”

The scheme includes building four wind farms with a combined output of 922 MW. The project is led by the alliance and partners EDF Renewables, Invenergy, Algonquin Power and Hydro-Québec. 

“This unique financing is excellent news for the Alliance. It’s a natural partnership between Desjardins and our organisation, since we share common values such as sustainable development and the redistribution of resources in the community,” said Michel Lagacé, president of Alliance de l’Énergie de l’Est. “In the long term, this structuring and innovative financing will enable us to contribute on an equal basis with our private partners to projects that will benefit the community. These projects will contribute to Quebec’s energy transition, while optimising the economic, social and environmental impact in the regions concerned.”

Complexe Desjardins building, Montreal, Canada
Complexe Desjardins building, Montreal, Canada

Desjardins’ support for the project forms part of its commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 in its extended operations and its own investments and lending activities in energy, transportation and real estate.

Other measures due to be taken by Desjardins include increasing the share allocated to renewables in its lending to large energy corporations from 24% in 2020 to 35% in 2025, building a CA$2bn (£1.19bn) investment portfolio in renewable energy infrastructure (up 66% over 2020) and providing financial support for five biomethanisation development projects, which involve converting organic waste – largely from agriculture – into renewable energy.