Ireland's Airtricity Inc has set its sights on the Canadian market with its October acquisition of Gale Force Energy (GFE), a Toronto-based wind project developer. Airtricity, which already develops wind projects in the US, sees Canada as a key market, says CEO Eddie O'Connor. GFE's portfolio of more than 30 development projects in eight provinces will give Airtricity a significant presence in the country, he says. GFE, which has not installed wind capacity, will benefit from Airtricity's capital and expertise, says O'Connor. "This acquisition is indicative of the type of consolidation necessary to allow small wind power developers to succeed in the increasingly competitive international wind energy market." Greg Coleman, GFE's CEO, agrees. "A major issue for GFE and for all small developers in Canada is the international shortage of wind turbines," he says. "GFE can now take advantage of Airtricity's inventory of more than 500 MW of turbines. Having a supply of turbines with locked-in pricing provides a significant competitive advantage for our projects." Airtricity announced in June it had signed up for 300, GE 1.5 MW wind turbines. Declan Flanagan, who manages Airtricity's North American operations, says the acquisition of GFE is just the beginning of the company's plans for growth in Canada. "We hope to announce further strategic partnerships and acquisitions in the coming year." The financial terms of the acquisition were not released.
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