One of Canada’s larger oil companies has made an equity investment of $3 million in a company that develops solar and wind energy in the state of Vermont.
CALGARY, Alberta – Sunoco Inc, a subsidiary of Suncor Energy Inc, will invest in Northern Power Systems of Waitsfield. “Northern Power Systems is one of the world’s best developers of renewable energy solutions,” explains Gerry Manwell of Suncor. “By investing in Northern, Suncor has taken another step toward developing, producing and marketing renewable energy a key component of our long-term vision to become a sustainable energy company.” In addition to the minority equity investment, the two companies have signed a letter of intent to form a joint venture to develop large-scale wind power generation and other renewable energy projects in Canada. When the joint venture is formed, Northern and Suncor plan to systematically assess the energy needs of small communities in Canada and design and market renewable energy solutions that are environmentally beneficial and cost-effective. “By bringing Suncor and Northern together, we intend to provide the expertise and know-how needed to help build a renewable energy industry in Canada,” adds Manwell. “We plan to be a full service developer that can design, install and support renewable energy projects.” Last year, Suncor announced plans to invest up to $100 million by 2005 to develop an alternative and renewable energy business. Options under consideration include research projects and commercial ventures that include run-of-river hydro power, biomass, landfill methane, and solar and wind power. The commitment to invest in renewable energy is part of Suncor’s plan to address the risk of global climate change. Northern designs, builds and installs power systems using wind turbines, and has installed wind, PV and diesel hybrid power at 800 sites on seven continents. The company has four main business groups, including a Renewable Energy group and a Distributed Generation group that is involved in on-site generation and energy storage systems. Its Wind Turbine Technology group designs direct drive wind turbines and associated power conditioning and control technology. The company recently received a R+D 100 award from R&D Magazine for the design of its NorthWind 100 Cold Weather Turbine. Suncor is an integrated Canadian energy company and was the first commercial developer of the Athabasca oil sands. Since 1998, it has funded wind power generation in Alberta.