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Wind Farm Co-Ops Get Funding

Two Manitoba communities have received $62,000 in federal grants to examine the feasibility of building locally owned wind farms.

The Saint-Claude and De Salaberry Wind Energy co-operatives will use the money to see if a Quebec co-operative model for such a project could work in Manitoba.

It’s the first step toward possibly constructing two wind farms owned by local residents, not outside companies, organizers say.

The money from the Co-operative Development Initiative will help the Saint- Claude and De Salaberry co-ops adapt a model by the Val-Eo cooperative in St.-Bruno, Quebec to Manitoba conditions.

The goal is to help local farmers and their communities control management of their wind energy, said Roger Robert, a member of the De Salaberry co-op.

That way, profits from wind energy projects would remain at home instead of going outside the community, he said.

The De Salaberry co-op currently has 45 members, all local farmers who have each invested $1,000, said Robert, a MAFRI farm production adviser in St. Pierre- Jolys.

The co-op could eventually provide share offerings to non-farmers, making it truly community owned, he said.

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