Norwegian solar company Renewable Energy Corp. plans to build a silicon plant in Quebec, to take advantage of that province’s cheap and abundant electricity. REC, one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of silicon and wafers for solar power applications, will build the plant in Bécancour, just across the St. Lawrence river from Trois Rivières. Bécancour is also the home of the silicon plant run by Timminco Corp., the controversial Canadian company that claims to have created a revolutionary method of producing silicon for use in solar cells at very low cost. REC will eventually spend up to $1.2-billion (U.S.) on its plant, which will employ more than 300 people. Construction will start in 2010.
You know what is interesting? Last year I took a look at the legislation, regulation and annual reports associated with NB Power, HydroQuebec, Ontario Power Generation and a few others. Guess which utility has an explicit mandate to support economic development? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not NB Power.