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Stephenville company signs agreement for wind technology

Jet-Age Wind Inc. has signed an agreement with a company in New Brunswick to test a prototype of its new jet turbine wind technology.

The agreement with the Stephenville company has been inked with Maliseet Energy Corp. of Fredericton, N.B. to test the technology as the first phase of a multi-phase development plan.

Paul Gallant, company president, said the agreement will see $5 million of investment to test the prototype and it is expected to flow into the second phase, which is the development of a 50-megawatt wind farm to export into the United States, as well as a 30-megawatt wind farm to supply the New Brunswick domestic market.

He said the expected investment will be in excess of $200 million.

Gallant said the third phase of this development will see manufacturing facilities located in New Brunswick to produce smaller models of this new technology to service the full North American domestic demand for clean, green and low-cost electrical energy for individual homeowners. He said initial projections are that this will result in at least 300 well-paid manufacturing jobs for the local area.

“This is certainly a great announcement for the group and we’re happy to be partnering with the Maliseet people in New Brunswick on this exciting opportunity,” Gallant said.

“However, we are a little disappointed we could not have worked a deal in our local area, which would have helped rebuild the economy of Bay St. George, which is still trying to recover from the loss of the Abitibi mill. …There just wasn’t enough political will to work with us locally.”

The company had proposed testing technology in Port au Port West, then setting up a wind farm in the community, but couldn’t get a commitment from Newfoundland Hydro to purchase the power generated.

He said the joint venture is well positioned to grow business in all of the three provinces bordering New Brunswick as well as into the eastern seaboard of the United States. The group has already had contact in the State of Maine is hoping to partner in a large wind farm there as well.

“In reality for us to do this business, New Brunswick is a better place because of its proximity to the other provinces and bordering with part of the United States,” Gallant said. “As well, the price is better there at 11 cents per kilowatt hour compared to Newfoundland, which is less than eight.”

He said with the potential of 4,500 megawatts of power in New Brunswick compared to Newfoundland Hydro making no commitment to extend past the wind farms they already have being developed at this time for 54 megawatts makes New Brunswick the better place to do business.

“It was refreshing to meet and work with officials of the New Brunswick government who have been very interested in our project and demonstrated a definite can-do attitude,” Gallant said. “It is hard to believe this whole deal transpired within three weeks of our initial contact with Business New Brunswick.”

Gallant said they are currently in the process of setting up a temporary office in Stephenville and plan to have their head office in Fredericton.

Frank Gale

The Western Star

22 July 2008