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Government creates alternative energy task force

Task force to look at ways to make B.C. world leader



B.C.’s alternative energy market got a boost last week from the provincial government, as Premier Gordon Campbell announced the creation of an alternative energy task force chaired by representatives from the industry.

The Alternative Energy and Power Technology Task Force will look at ways to integrate and develop alternative energy while also advising a new provincial alternative energy strategy.

"B.C. already has a strong base of innovation and expertise in the emerging alternative energy and power technology market, but we have just begun to tap the full potential this industry holds for our future, our province and our economy," said Campbell. "One of the great goals we set in this year’s throne speech was to establish B.C. as a world leader in sustainable environmental management. This strategy and the task force that will help us implement it are going to be critical to achieving that objective."

The co-chairs for the task force include MLA Barry Penner, the past-president of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region, and Mossadiqu Umedaly, the chairman of Xantrex technology and a member of the Premier’s Technology Council. Umedaly helped to author a Technology Council report called A Vision for Growing a World-Class Power Technology Cluster in a Sustainable B.C.

The strategy commits the province to work with industry to resolve energy issues, while promoting B.C.-based alternative energy technology around the world.

The Olympics in 2010 and next year’s World Urban Forum are just a few of the forums where B.C. can promote its technology and expertise to the world.

The task force will spend the next 20 weeks seeking input from industry, utilities, researchers, communities, First Nations and non-governmental organizations, which will then be presented to cabinet.

The alternative energy and power technology industry is already one of B.C.’s biggest technology sectors, with more than 60 companies providing 3,000 jobs and generating $700 million in annual revenues.

Areas of expertise include power electronics, fuel cells, natural and electric hybrid engines, smart grid and power measurement, small and micro-hydro projects, sustainable building design practices, and solar, wind and tidal energy.