Canada Awards $6.5 Million for R&D on Wind Power in Nordic Climates

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of State for Canada Economic Development, announced the awarding of $6.5 million in non-repayable funding to the Wind Energy TechnoCentre to equip two wind turbines and a test cell with the instrumentation needed to carry out research and development on wind energy in nordic climates.

Necessitating an overall investment of more than $20.5 million, this Wind Energy TechnoCentre project-the fruit of a partnership among business and research stakeholders-will involve the acquisition of two high-powered wind turbines (to be installed in Gaspe’s Riviere-au-Renard sector), the establishment of a test cell in Murdochville (designed to couple wind energy with other complementary power sources in the absence of wind), the outfitting of these three facilities with instrumentation and the implementation of a wind energy storage system.

Minister Lebel explained that this federal funding, granted through Canada Economic Development’s Business and Regional Growth program, will be contingent upon the participation of the project’s other financial backers.

"The only establishment in Quebec with expertise in wind power in nordic climates, the Wind Energy TechnoCentre is a powerful magnet for attracting investment and businesses to the Gaspesie and Iles-de-la-Madeleine region. The centre plays a pivotal role in knowledge dissemination and its project, which focuses on research and development and knowledge transfer on nordic wind energy, is sure to lead to the adoption of new practices, processes and technologies and the development of innovative products. Canada Economic Development believes it is important to lend its financial support to the wind energy industrial cluster, a key source of employment and wealth in the region," he noted.

"The Wind Energy TechnoCentre is seen as an important lever of development for the Gaspesie and Iles-de-la-Madeleine region, which has one of the highest wind energy potentials in the province. The assistance we are granting today reflects our determination to help strengthen Quebec’s regional poles of excellence, of which wind energy is a prime example," the Minister of State concluded.

According to Frederic Cote, General Manager of the Wind Energy TechnoCentre, "the acquisition of these high-powered wind turbines and a test cell will be a veritable springboard for our organization and for the Quebec wind energy industry as a whole. These installations will serve as an essential technology showcase for Quebec enterprises looking to test their products under actual nordic conditions. The project also promises to have a significant positive impact on university and college research as well as on the training of a highly-skilled labour and research force."

The Wind Energy TechnoCentre is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the development of a continentally- and globally-competitive wind energy sector in Quebec and to making the Gaspesie and Iles-de-la-Madeleine region the provincial hub of wind energy, a growth sector for the Quebec economy. Since 2002, Canada Economic Development has contributed a total of $9,980,000 toward the establishment of the Wind Energy TechnoCentre, creation of the CORUS Centre and execution of the project announced today. This government investment has resulted in the maintenance of about a dozen jobs in the area.