BECANCOUR, QC, Aug. 25 /CNW Telbec/ - Québec Premier Jean Charest
accompanied by Erik Thorsen, President and CEO of REC ASA, Minister of
Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Minister of Tourism
Raymond Bachand, Minister of Transport, Minister of Natural Resources and
Wildlife and Minister responsible for the Mauricie region Julie Boulet, and
Goran Bye, Executive Vice President of REC ASA and President and CEO of REC
Silicon, has announced one of the biggest industrial investments project made
in Québec by a foreign firm.
REC Silicon intends to build in Bécancour a polysilicon plant that will
produce, starting in 2012, the principal raw material used to manufacture
semiconductors and solar panels. The site will be developed in stages and
could potentially hold four production units similar in size of the factory
currently under completion in Moses Lake, Washington, USA.
This major project calls for significant investments to be made and will
create specialized direct jobs for engineers, administrators, technicians and
plant workers. Moreover, the plant construction site will employ more than
1000 people. Québec suppliers will obtain a significant portion of investments
covering goods and services in conjunction with this project, which will
generate over $100 million in annual economic spinoff (GDP), including nearly
$20 million in annual tax revenues for the government.
"This announcement is very good news. Today, we are bolstering our
position as a North American leader in the realm of renewable energy. Québec
has opted for renewable energy and REC Silicon has acknowledged this
leadership by choosing Québec. We are, therefore, pleased to support the
realization of this project, which is very much in keeping with the energy
strategy that our government unveiled in 2006 and which once again confirms
one of my deepest convictions: sustainable development is synonymous with
wealth creation," noted Premier Charest.
REC Silicon chose Québec and, more specifically, Bécancour as the site of
its new plant in particular because of the availability in the Bécancour
industrial park of raw materials, the industrial park's top-notch
infrastructure, and the quality of the labour force. REC executives selected
Bécancour after an intensive 17-month search that focused on over 100 possible
sites in 16 countries.
Given the scope of the project's economic spinoff and structuring
effects, the Québec government has agreed to grant the company for a period of
20 years a block of up to 95 MW of electricity at the general rate for large
power (rate L) regulated by the Régie de l'énergie. This measure significantly
influenced REC Silicon's decision to locate in Québec. Emploi-Québec is also
supporting REC Silicon by offering a $4-million non-refundable contribution,
equivalent to 25% of training costs, for a period of three years to help the
company in this new economic niche in Québec. The agreement further assumes
that total investments will exceed $1.2 billion and that the total number of
employees will exceed 300 people.
"REC's decision to establish itself in Québec confirms the efficacy of
the government's efforts to create conditions favourable to foreign
investment. The government has implemented key measures to foster innovation,
investment, the quality of manpower and the openness of markets. It has also
invested heavily to enhance its infrastructure and energy capacity. REC's
decision to operate in Québec reflects foreign investors' confidence in
Québec's economic environment," Minister Bachand added.
Renewable Energy Corporation (REC ASA), a Norwegian multinational,
recorded sales of $1.3 billion in 2007 and has approximately 2150 employees.
REC Silicon, one of three divisions in the REC Group, is the world's third
biggest producer of polysilicon and the biggest producer for the solar energy
market. The company's other two divisions are REC Wafer, which produces
silicon wafers, and REC Solar, which manufactures photovoltaic cells and solar
panels. REC Silicon employs approximately 700 people and operates two plants
in the United States, one in Montana and the other in Washington State.
"By encouraging REC Silicon to set up operations in the Centre-du-Québec
region, the government is confirming its intention to contribute to regional
economic development and to create wealth in each of the regions by relying on
Québec's advantageous hydroelectric power, a clean energy source available at
competitive prices. The investments announced today offer proof of the
confidence in our ability to welcome major investment projects in Québec,"
Minister Boulet said.
"Our plan is not to simply enter the solar panel industry. We also want
to take advantage of solar energy to satisfy our own energy needs. For this
reason, the Québec government will announce this fall a strategy designed to
foster solar energy production," she added.
"Attracting such substantial investments demands time, energy, persuasive
arguments and a clear determination by the government to do so. Investissement
Québec, the ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and the
ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation
have actively collaborated for over a year to encourage this multinational to
set up operations in Québec," Premier Jean Charest noted.
For further information:
For further information: Hugo D'Amours, Press Officer, Office of the
Premier, (418) 643-5321; Manuela Goya, Press Officer, Office of the Minister
of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Minister of Tourism,
(418) 691-5650; Pascal D'Astous, Press Officer, Office of the Minister of
Natural Resources and Wildlife, (418) 643-7295