EcoWeek,  October 28, 2002


AAER to build Canada's first major wind turbine production facility

Montreal-based AAER is preparing to build Canada's first large-capacity wind turbine manufacturing plant, to be ready by the fall of 2003.

The initiative follows from a $49-million deal under which the company will sell 27 1.5-megawatt (MW) wind turbines to the Chinese firm Fujian YongFeng Science and Technology. The letter of intent recently signed by the two companies includes an option to purchase 66 additional wind turbines, bringing the total value of the order to $120 million.

"This project is very important for China, a country where the need for wind energy represents millions of kilowatts and where 70 million people still have no access to electricity," explained Yong Su Lee, president of Fujian YongFeng Science and Technology.

AAER, which has been operating out of Montreal since December 2000, further reports that an American group is getting ready to announce a $200-million intent to purchase 120 of the company's wind turbines.

"We are very proud to provide Canada with its first wind turbine manufacturing plant at a time where the wind power industry is flourishing worldwide," said company president and CEO Dave Gagnon. "Setting up our plant in Quebec will have significant economic impact in addition to meeting the needs of the world and Canadian strategies directed at reducing [greenhouse gases] GHG," he added.

AAER says its initiative was prompted by a number of factors, among them the prospect of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, Hydro QuÈbec's 2002-2006 Strategic Plan (calling for 100 MW of production per year for ten years), recommendations made by the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), and the federal government's Wind Power Production Incentive (WPPI).

The wind power industry is experiencing very strong growth throughout the world, as reflected by statistics compiled by BTM Consult ApS, a firm specializing in wind energy market research. Wind-generated power production has increased from 6,500 MW in 1997 to 25,000 MW by the end of 2001, and industry experts forecast that world production should reach 80,000 MW by 2006. This represents a growth rate of 36% per year. The firm further notes that every megawatt produced creates, directly and indirectly, an average of 14.6 manufacturing jobs, 2.6 operations and maintenance jobs and 4.2 jobs related to installation.

This emerging industry is expected to provide significant business opportunities throughout the world, particularly in North America. "In 2001, eight manufacturers, seven of which are European, were responsible for supplying 85% of the world's wind turbines; furthermore, the demand for wind turbines continues to exceed supply," Gagnon pointed out. "We hope that our project will play a significant role in positioning Canada as a principal player in the wind energy industry worldwide," he concluded.

AAER has designated a European company as the exclusive provider of its technology to the Americas and Asia. More information is available from Sylvain Giffard at AAER, 514/990-5465, FAX 514/990-5461, E-mail s.giffard@aaer.ws.

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