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By 2017, Canada will feature more than half of all wind turbines that are located in cold climates, according to a recent study from Navigant Research.

Given that locations in cold climate settings often feature quality wind resources, the deployment of wind power projects in such areas is rapidly expanding, Navigant notes.

According to a forecast for 2013-2017, 57% of the world capacity located in moderate to high icing climates will be installed in Canada - at a time when technological adaptation will also be in full expansion.

The study, "World Market Update 2012 Report" notes that two-thirds of the world's wind turbines located in cold climates are concentrated in North America, with 22% located in eastern Canada and 14% in Quebec alone.

"Turbine manufacturers started by adapting their wind turbines so they can operate at very low temperatures, below -20 degrees C," explains Matthew Wadham-Gagnon, cold climate project leader at Quebec-based TechnoCentre eolien, which helps to adapt wind turbine technology to northern climates.

While progress has been made, Wadham-Gagnon explains there is still work to be done.

"[Manufacturers] are now taking on the challenges associated with icing climates. There is still development required before ice protection technologies are fully adapted to this market."

For its part, TechnoCentre eolien continues to conduct research with state-of-the-art wind and icing instrumentation and two mainstream-size wind turbines located in Gaspe, Canada.

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