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New CanWEA Chair aims to close policy gaps

It seems as if America is not the only nation in North America that is crying out for reform. The Canadian wind energy industry needs improved support from governments, utilities, and communities as it moves into the mainstream of country’s energy sector, says the new Chair of CanWEA’s board of directors.

Gary Pundsack, Government Relations Manager Canada for Vestas, was elected to the post at the 2010 board’s inaugural meeting. “We are a growing industry, moving into the traditional energy space and competing with limited resources. So we need to leverage the great work of CanWEA and its members to build support for a stable policy and procurement environment and make it easier to build and operate wind projects,” he says.

Pundsack, who started in the wind energy business in 2002, worked as a Senior Business Development Manager with Invenergy Wind Canada before joining Vestas in February 2009. His experience as both a developer and equipment supplier gives him a broad view of the opportunities and challenges facing the Canadian industry. “They are two distinct activities in the industry and to have the perspective from both sides is unique.” His work with Vestas, where he advocates for policy support and regulatory reforms across Canada, also gives him an overview of the Canadian market as a whole. “There are many similarities across provinces; however, each province has a unique set of challenges that create distinct business environments,” Pundsack says.

How to provide a national perspective on key issues is one of the questions the board will tackle in 2010. It plans to launch a governance review in the first quarter and, with the aid of a facilitator, hopefully have some recommendations for change in place later in the year. For example, the review will evaluate the communications links between CanWEA’s provincial caucuses and its board of directors and examine the responsibilities of each. CanWEA tends to develop its policy positions at the provincial caucus level, explains Pundsack. “We have very strong caucuses and some great leadership comes from the caucuses. What the board needs to do, I think, is be more engaged in providing leadership where there are gaps,” he says.


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