October 10, 2005

National wind energy institute to be based in Prince Edward Island

The new Canadian Wind Energy Institute (CanWEI) will open at Prince Edward Island's North Cape next year. Funded by the federal and provincial governments, the Institute will support the development of wind power generation in Canada and wind energy related products and services for Canadian and export markets. Its work will focus on four key areas: testing and certification; research and innovation; industry training and public education; and technical consultation and assistance.

CanWEI will be an independent, non-profit organization governed by an appointed board of directors. It will work in close collaboration with many partners including universities, colleges and other research institutions, private sector companies, governments and utilities, to advance the development and commercialization of wind energy technologies.

Through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the federal government is contributing nearly $3.6 million to establish CanWEI, under the Innovative Communities Fund. Natural Resources Canada will also provide $1 million per year for two years, beginning in fiscal 2006-2007 to cover the Institute's operating costs.

For its part, the provincial government, through the PEI Energy Corporation, is contributing a total of $930,000 through land and assets of the existing Atlantic Wind Test Site that will devolve to the new organization. The province will also contribute approximately $285,000 annually toward the Institute's operating costs. Funding will come from the earnings of the North Cape Wind Farm, which is owned and operated by the Energy Corporation.

CanWEI's physical structure will include the construction of a 9,500-square-foot building which will house various testing laboratories, workshop areas and accommodations for visiting researchers. The facility will be constructed to promote maximum flexibility to meet the needs of small and large-scale projects. Work on the facility will begin this fall, under the management of Resources West. The Institute will be completed in 2006.

PEI Environment, Energy and Forestry Minister Jamie Ballem said his province "provides the perfect laboratory to demonstrate the commercialization of new technologies. We look forward to building new partnerships through the Canadian Wind Energy Institute to advance wind energy here in PEI, and across the country," he added.

PEI's Renewable Energy Strategy has been cited by industry experts as the most aggressive in North America. Wind energy currently supplies 5% of PEI's electricity and the government, under the provincial Renewable Energy Act, has committed to a renewable portfolio standard for electricity of 15% by 2010.

Over the next 15 years, the federal government plans to invest at least $920 million in promoting wind power, increasing its production target to 4,000 megawatts by 2010, enough electricity to power more than one million Canadian homes.

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