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Southern Alberta to be promoted for Investment and Training

April 30, 2009

LETHBRIDGE - The Southern Alberta Alternative Energy Partnership (SAAEP) and Lethbridge College are teaming up to promote this region at the 2009 Wind Power Conference and Exhibition taking place in Chicago from May 4-7.

Presented by the American Wind Energy Association, the conference will attract businesses from around the world to showcase their technology and latest innovations. This is the largest annual wind conference and exhibition in the world, featuring more than 15,000 attendees and over 1,200 exhibitors.

“The Lethbridge College Wind Turbine Technician program is a dynamic, sustainable response to the rapid growth of the wind-generated energy industry in Canada and the need for BZEE certified installation and service technicians,” says Tracy Edwards, Lethbridge College President. “This conference will provide a fantastic point of measurement for our program and the industry in Southern Alberta.”

Each year, wind energy professionals gather at this event to learn about the latest industry developments and technologies, review new products and services in the expansive exhibit hall, and network with leading industry decision makers.

“This event provides SAAEP with a prime venue to network with the key businesses highlighted in the Wind Energy Cluster Action Plan (WECAP) that was recently completed,” says Cheryl Dick, CEO of Economic Development Lethbridge, one of the SAAEP partners.

Added Sandra Nelson, Chair of SouthGrow Regional Initiative, “This gives us the opportunity to build relationships with these businesses and to promote this region as a viable destination for wind power.”

The Wind Energy Cluster Action Plan (WECAP) was a joint project undertaken by SAAEP and Lethbridge College to identify specific wind-energy related businesses with the potential to expand or locate in the region, and to develop content for a wind energy sector marketing strategy.

A cluster is a group of companies, from suppliers and buyers to government and collaborating partners, which work together to develop a series of products and services to meet market demand. The goal of cluster development includes coordinated efforts to increase economic growth, stability, and competitiveness of businesses, governments, research and education institutions within an industry value chain and include strategies and activities for long-term, sustainable growth of an industry.

Wind Energy Cluster organizations that would have a particularly strong fit within the region could include: commercial-scale wind Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs); small wind OEMs; turbine component manufacturers and suppliers; design, development and installation contractors; commercial-scale wind operations and after-market service providers.

Lethbridge College is the leading post-secondary institution offering the BZEE (Bildungszentrum für Erneuerbare Energien e.V.) technician and teacher training certification. BZEE is the internationally recognized standard developed by major wind power industry players in Europe.

The Southern Alberta Alternative Energy Partnership (SAAEP) is a partnership between Economic Development Lethbridge, SouthGrow Regional Initiative, and Alberta SouthWest Regional Alliance that represents 39 municipalities committed to actively building partnerships and promoting renewable energy-related investment in order to support expansion of wind, solar and bio-energy industries.

Both Lethbridge College and SAAEP have been working for the past three years to build information and momentum for expanding the wind energy industry in the region.

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