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Marianna Ohe (202) 565-3200

Southwest Windpower, Flagstaff, AZ, a producer of small battery-charging wind generators, today received the 2002 Small Business Exporter of the Year award from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Southwest Windpower was honored at an awards ceremony at Ex-Im Bank's Annual Conference being held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., May 2-3.

Founded by two young entrepreneurs out of a garage in rural Arizona in 1986, Southwest Windpower's vision from the start was to sell its products in the global market and to make a difference in the world through low-cost renewable energy. Since it began using Ex-Im Bank's export credit insurance program in 1996, the company has been able to offer open accounts to its small foreign distributors in markets such as Canada, Brazil, Argentina, Turkey, India, South Africa and St. Lucia, easing their cash flow and allowing them to place larger orders.

The results have been tremendous, said Southwest Windpower Vice President Andrew Kruse. Last year more than 50 percent of our revenues came from export sales. We now have 50 employees, factories in Flagstaff and Duluth, MN, and our products are sold in more than 50 countries. We also support jobs at scores of sub-suppliers around the country. We're excited about looking at other Ex-Im Bank products to help us fill future orders. The Ex-Im Bank has become a strategic partner in our effort to further expand our export sales.

Southwest Windpower is an outstanding example of how a small enterprise can successfully contribute to the U.S. export effort and U.S. job creation through the use of Ex-Im Bank programs, said Dan Renberg, a member of Ex-Im Bank's Board of Directors. Ex-Im Bank aggressively supports renewable energy and other environmentally beneficial exports that contribute to sustainable development in emerging markets around the world.

Kruse is a member of Ex-Im Bank's newly established Renewable Energy Exports Advisory Committee to help the Bank support U.S. exporters in renewable energy industries such as solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass. Since its inception, Southwest Windpower has produced more than 60,000 wind generators, of which 10,000 were produced in 2001 alone. The products are used to produce electricity on telecommunication towers, remote homes, off-shore platforms, remote monitoring sites, schools, and homes in emerging markets.

Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States and provides loans, guarantees and export credit insurance in support of U.S. companies seeking to expand into the global marketplace. In fiscal year 2001, Ex-Im Bank authorized financing to support $12.5 billion of U.S. exports worldwide.