This morning in Brudenell, Prince Edward Island, federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Lawrence MacAulay, acting on behalf of Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains, announced a conditionally repayable investment of up to $1,796,186 in Frontier Power Systems Inc. under the Atlantic Innovation Fund to develop a next-generation power system incorporating multiple turbines, diesel generators and an advanced energy storage system, aimed at remote communities in the Arctic.
The Prince Edward Island government is also contributing a $100,000 grant from its Development and Commercialization fund to the project.
Frontier Power Systems expects to use the investment to create as many as 14 jobs and to sustain eight already existing highly skilled positions.
MacAulay made the announcement alongside Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Heath MacDonald and representatives from Frontier Power Systems.
“This is an important announcement for us,” said Frontier Power Systems General Manager Carl Brothers.
“Frontier engineers have spent the last 15 years developing wind energy technology for economic applications in both utility and remote communities. In that time we have established ourselves as industry leaders in the village power systems market – mainly isolated grids in remote areas. Our investment, coupled the repayable contribution from ACOA, and the provincial government grant, enables us to develop and bring these advanced technologies to market in a timely manner.”
The project involves the development of a new turbine blade design, and a smaller drive train to maximize electricity generation.
“Innovation does not occur on its own; it requires ideas, creativity, risks, and research and development,” said MacAulay. “I am pleased to announce support for the Frontier team as they continue their innovative work from right here in PEI. This investment is a fine example of the Government of Canada’s commitment to strengthening innovation and commercialization in Atlantic Canada.”
Remote Arctic communities currently depend on diesel generators to supply their energy needs.
Frontier founder Carl Brothers has spent the last 20 years working on improving deficiencies in arctic region energy supplies, developing a self-erecting tower design and improving control systems to integrate improved communication interfaces for the performance of remote diagnostics.
Frontier Power Systems is redesigning wind turbines, variable speed diesel generators and an advanced energy storage system for use in remote northern regions, which should provide those communities with a more reliable and cleaner electricity supply.
“Frontier Power Systems is an excellent example of a company developing cutting edge technology right here on Prince Edward Island,” said MacDonald. “It proves once again that Island companies have the skills and know-how to be competitive and successful in international markets, which helps build on our export strength and further grow our economy.”
The project’s total cost is $2,467,186, with $1.8 million supplied by the federal investment, $100,000 through the PEI government, $500,000 in proponent funding, and $21,000 from the University of New Brunswick.
Frontier will collaborate with the UNB Faculty of Engineering on the drive train component, and with the Université de Moncton on the development of the advanced turbine blade.
While this project will focus on improving energy security for northern communities in Canada, Frontier Power Systems will also begin to concentrate on exports markets.