Vancouver's premier yacht-building company has won a $1 million federal stimulus grant that will allow a sister business to bring as many as 200 people back to its waterfront fabrication facility to begin producing renewable energy equipment by year's end. The newly created sister business, Renewable Energy Composite Solutions LLC, is using the money to get into the wind turbine and hydrokinetic (wave motion) energy component manufacturing, said Joe Foggia, managing partner of RECS and president of Christensen Shipyards at 4400 Columbia Way.

For more than 25 years the company has built sleek luxury yachts for the world's wealthiest, using composite materials. Now it will apply the technology to new engineering and fabrication projects. "This diversification promises to bring back people we've laid off in the past 13 months who work in composite manufacturing," Foggia said. "Seventy-five percent of our yachts are built with composites there are a lot of man-hours there."

The $1 million grant, announced by Gov. Chris Gregoire and the Washington Department of Commerce on Tuesday, will allow the company to retro-fit manufacturing equipment to make vertical wind turbines, as well as buoys that use the continuous wave energy of the ocean to generate power. RECS engineers are working with such entities as Oregon State University's tsunami center and SAIC, an international engineering and technology company based in McLean, Va., to develop wave technology and build test buoys. It has partnered with Skyron Systems Inc., an energy products company in Portland, to manufacture vertical axis wind turbines, which have field applications including onsite generation for urban and remote sites.

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