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Prototype first of its kind in Canada

Shoreline Beacon: TROY PATTERSON - November 10, 2009

A site between Tiverton and Kincardine has been selected to host a prototype wind turbine by Canada's only original wind turbine manufacturer.

With plans to have it up and running by late next year, Chuck Edey of Kincardine's Leader Resources said the 1.65MW AAER turbine is part of a $4 million investment by 10 local partners.

"We started collecting wind data over a year ago, but things didn't start moving until about two months ago," said Edey. "Ontario wants to see renewable energy. The provincial government is providing all kinds of resources to ensure these projects are developed properly and appropriately."

Edey, a wind industry veteran, is familiar with the region's wind resources after working on the original Huron Wind project at the Bruce Power Visitor's Centre, as well as with Enbridge, Pickering and 30-years in the power industry, was surprised at the interest the proposal generated after notice was posted on Canada News Wire last Tuesday.

Though an individual site has yet to be selected, Edey said the turbine will be positioned on a property on the west side of Highway 21, between the Huron Wind project to the north in Bruce Township and the Enbridge Cruickshank Wind Project to the south.

The AAER turbines, built at an old automotive plant outside of Montreal, are the first of their kind in Canada. The company has built other wind projects in the US and France. The company has put forward a $3.3 million loan to kick-start the project, while an additional $700,000 was invested by himself and his partners, Edey said.

With Bruce County supporting the recently defeated moratorium on wind power put forward by Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MPP Bill Murdoch, Edey said Ontarians want to see more wind power, despite those who oppose the technology.

"There's tons of scientific evidence that demonstrates there are minimal impacts from wind turbines, but anecdotal information to support otherwise," he said. "Those with issues don't have enough information. When you wrestle energy from mother nature it doesn't come easy and there will be impacts."

He knows there will be opposition, but said people always miss the point that wind turbines aren't permanent and can be removed if they don't perform or are no longer required.

"These things can go up in a day and can come down in a day," he said. "If it doesn't work, we can take it down. You can't say that about a nuclear plant or a coal plant."

The project will fit within the 700MW of electricity capacity set aside in the new Hydro One corridor in the works from the Bruce site to Milton. Studies on environmental impacts are still required, along with completion of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) agreement within the Green Energy Act, as an early launch project.

"This contract, when finalized, will mark our entry into the Ontario wind energy market, another milestone in our growth," said Dave Gagnon, President and CEO of AAER. "Ontario's Green Energy and Green Economy Act provides strong support for renewable energy in the province and offers AAER further opportunities to supply wind turbines to large developers and local communities. Our success with Leader will establish AAER as a reliable supplier of wind turbines projects in Ontario."

Presently, Leader is involved in developing several other small and large scale wind projects in the Municipalities of Central Huron, Kincardine, Arran-Elderslie, and Norfolk County.

"This project is a direct result of the Green Energy Act, which provides fresh opportunities for more people to individually participate in the green electricity business," Edey said. "Ontario is currently the leading wind energy jurisdiction in North America, and is bringing both investment and jobs. Having the chance to work with AAER and to be part of the activity as they bring to Ontario the first-ever commercial class Canadian-built turbine is very exciting. I hope this is the first of many more."

For more information visit www.aaer.ca or call Leader Resources at 519-396-3540.