The Fredericton-based First Nations company Maliseet Energy Corp. is partnering with a Newfoundland company to test new wind turbine technology in New Brunswick.
Jet-Age Wind Inc., also a First Nations company, based in Stephenville, N.L., struck a $5-million deal with Maliseet Energy to conduct preliminary testing on a new wind turbine that, if successful, could lead to a wind farm and manufacuring facilities in the province.
Paul Gallant, president of the privately-owned Jet-Age Wind, said the new technology could generate wind power of 20 megawatts with a single turbine – a standard wind turbine generates between one and 1.5 megawatts.
“That’s why we’re so excited about this. It’s a quantum leap,” Gallant said.
For the moment, though, the technology remains largely unproven.
The companies will test a wind generator developed by Brad Sorensen, owner of Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Sorensen Design.
Rather than a conventional three-propeller wind turbine, the prototype will use an eight-layer multi-ring turbine similar to the one found on airplane jets.
Sorensen owns the patent to the technology. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Maliseet Energy, a company newly-formed by the Maliseet First Nation for the project, will provide the funding for the research, while Jet-Age will provide the technology and manpower.
Maliseet Energy could not be reached for comment Tuesday and Wednesday.
Gallant said the joint venture would likely develop into a 50 megawatt wind farm to export into the U.S., and a 30 megawatts wind farm to feed the New Brunswick market. Gallant expects to raise $200 million for the project.
If the technology proves successful, Gallant hopes to establish manu-
facturing facilities in New Brunswick to produce smaller models of the technology for individual home owners.
Jet-Age decided to look outside of Newfoundland and Labrador to conduct testing after it seemed the province’s power company was no longer interested in the project.
“There wasn’t a great political climate to do it here. There’s a more can-do attitude in New Brunswick,” Gallant said.
New Brunswick is also closer to energy markets in the U.S. and the rest of Canada, Gallant said.
Business New Brunswick got word that Jet-Age was seeking a financial backer for the project last year, and introduced the two companies a few months ago.
Gallant said he was encouraged by New Brunswick’s commitment to wind energy.
Earlier this year, the province set a goal for NB Power to produce 300 megawatts of wind power by 2010 and 400 megawatts of wind energy by 2016.
NB Power said it would follow the testing to see if the technology turns out as promised.
“We’re certainly interested in watching this technology develop. We’ll be keeping an eye on it to see if it’s something that will benefit our customers,” said Heather MacLean, a spokeswoman for NB Power.
24 July 2008
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