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Wind energy industry calls for federal funding  

Canada’s wind energy industry added 534 megawatts of new production capacity in 2006, ahead of a previous record of 240 MW set in 2005, the Canadian Wind Energy Association said Monday, while warning that the federal government’s lack of policy direction on new funding could delay more development.

About $1 billion has been invested so far in wind power this year, the association said, with a total 1,218 MW of installed wind energy capacity in Canada, enough to power 370,000 Canadian homes.

“With several more wind farms under construction and others expected to be commissioned before year end, new industry heights will be achieved in 2006,” association president Robert Hornung said in a release from its annual conference in Winnipeg.

“We project that Canada will end the year with more than 700 MW of new wind energy projects installed. This means Canada’s total installed wind energy capacity will have doubled from the end of 2005 to the end of 2006.”

But the association also said it relies on federal funding and none has been available since April, due to pending decisions from Ottawa about how it will support wind energy development.

“Many companies signed contracts to build wind farms following commitments made by the previous government that federal support would be available,” Hornung said.

“These companies now face significant economic consequences if those funds are not forthcoming. The current policy uncertainty also sends a negative signal to recent and potential investors in wind energy projects and manufacturing facilities and represents a threat to future investment in wind energy in Canada.”

CanWEA represents more than 250 companies involved in Canada’s wind energy industry, including wind turbine and component manufacturers, wind energy project developers, electric utilities and service providers.


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