GE, Plutonic Power, purchase and prepare to resume construction of British Columbia’s largest wind farm
STAMFORD, CT and VANCOUVER, BC — GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, and Plutonic Power Corporation have completed their purchase and will resume construction of the 300-megawatt Dokie Wind Project, British Columbia's largest wind farm. The announcement was made earlier this month.
GE and Plutonic jointly contributed $52.5 million to purchase the fully permitted project located 1,100 kms northeast of Vancouver from EarthFirst Canada Inc. The companies have formed a partnership through which they will construct and operate the project's first phase, which will have the capacity to generate 144 MW and is expected to reach commercial operation by early 2011. Construction is scheduled to ramp up next month, with most of the work commencing in the spring.
The Manufacturers Life Insurance Company (Manulife) led a syndicate that provided C$175 million in fixed-rate nonrecourse project debt for a 20-year term. Energy from the project will be sold to BC Hydro, the third largest electric utility in Canada, under a 25-year energy purchase agreement. The lending syndicate consists of Manulife, Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, The Canada Life Assurance Company and Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc.
The Dokie Wind project is GE Energy Financial Services' and Plutonic's first wind energy investment in Canada and expands their relationship beyond hydroelectric power development. With this investment, GE and Plutonic are jointly developing what will be British Columbia's largest wind project and largest run-of-river hydro project — the 196-megawatt East Toba River and Montrose Creek run-of-river hydroelectric project — helping the province meet its goal of electricity self-sufficiency by 2016 by using 90 percent clean domestic generation sources. GE and Plutonic also have proposed to build two other run-of-river hydroelectric power projects: the 166-megawatt Upper Toba Valley and 1,027-megawatt Bute Inlet Project.
"Reviving phase one, and working toward expanding the Dokie Wind Project and completing our East Toba River and Montrose Creek run-of-river hydroelectric project not only grows our business and supports GE's ecomagination program but reinforces the British Columbia government's strong agenda to promote renewable energy," said Alex Urquhart, President and CEO of GE Energy Financial Services.
"Our relationship with GE Energy Financial Services enabled a joint purchase of the Dokie Wind Project, which provides Plutonic with a second near-term operating asset and a new growth platform in wind energy," said Plutonic Power Vice-Chairman and CEO Donald McInnes.
EarthFirst obtained court-ordered protection from its creditors under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, and on November 30, the Dokie partners informed the Court of Queens Bench of Alberta, Judicial Centre of Calgary of their waiver of all remaining due diligence conditions to purchase the wind farm. The GE-Plutonic partnership has worked diligently and successfully with the West Moberly First Nations, Halfway River First Nations, Saulteau First Nations and McLeod Lake Indian Band involved in the Dokie Wind project to conclude comprehensive project consent and support agreements. The partnership has also developed an effective working relationship with these First Nations and looks forward to working with them to complete the first phase of the Dokie Wind Project.
The partnership has entered into an agreement with the Canadian government to receive renewable energy incentives for the project under Canada's ecoENERGY program. The program provides renewable energy projects C$0.01 (before tax) per kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of power production.
"Renewable energy projects, such as the Dokie Wind Project, and the Canadian economy overall have benefited greatly from the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program," said Mark Tonner, Managing Director of Canada at GE Energy Financial Services. "We support this initiative and look forward to continuing to access this program to help Canada reach its renewable energy targets."
GE Energy Financial Services is based in Stamford, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com. For more information about GE, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.