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REC has decided to build its future silicon material production assets in Bécancour

The agreement requires that total investments in Bécancour will exceed $1.2 billion and that the total number of employees will exceed 300 people

Bécancour, August 25 2008 -  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.

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Sources :

Manuela Goya
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Minister of Tourism
418 691-5650 

Hugo D?Amours
Press Officer
Office of the Premier
418 643-5321

Pascal D?Astous
Press Officer   
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources and Wildlife
418 643-7295

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