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United States

Funds for wind forecasting specialist to go global

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Wind forecasting specialist 3TIER Environmental Forecast Group has secured a "substantial investment" from Good Energies Investment BV that will allow the company, based in Seattle, to fund research, develop new products and expand beyond its North American base, says CEO Ken Westrick. "We had been approached before for financing from venture capital firms, but what I liked about Good Energies is that they have what we see as more of a long term perspective to their investments." Good Energies is a renewable energy investment firm with a wind division in Toronto, Canada. "Our goal is to help a new generation of technologies, systems and entrepreneurs to succeed," says the firm's Jean-Louis Brenninkmeyer. Westrick will not reveal how much Good Energies has invested, saying only that it is "enough to do everything we want to do." 3TIER, he says, sees significant opportunity for expansion in developing regions such as Latin American and China, where demand for resource mapping and assessment is high. The company also wants to expand its forecasting operations into Europe. "We look at the markets differently for our different products." 3TIER is now operationally forecasting more than 2600 MW of wind energy throughout North America. It recently added Manitoba Hydro to its client list, providing forecasting services to the Canadian utility that will allow it to optimise power scheduling as it integrates electricity from the province's new 99 MW St Leon wind farm. "3TIER is helping us minimize the cost of wind integration," says the utility's Blaine Poff. "Their forecast tools are an important piece of our risk mitigation strategy to minimize the uncertainty of scheduling." Manitoba Hydro plans to add 1000 MW of wind to its 5000 MW hydro-based system over the next decade.

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