International Power acquires 99MW BC project

CANADA: UK-based electricity generating giant International Power PLC has extended its reach in Canadian wind with an agreement to take a majority stake in a 99MW project in British Columbia.

International Power’s Canadian subsidiary will invest in the first phase of Sea Breeze Power’s Knob Hill Wind Farm, located 35 kilometres northwest of Port Hardy on northern Vancouver Island.

The terms of the transaction were not released, although the agreement does provide an option for Sea Breeze and the Quatsino, Tlatlasikwala, and Kwakiutl First Nations, in whose traditional territories the project is located, to purchase equity positions in the project. Sea Breeze would also receive a developer's fee and an ongoing revenue royalty for the duration of the contract.

Sea Breeze, a renewable energy developer based in Vancouver, won a power purchase agreement for Knob Hill’s 99MW first phase in BC Hydro’s recently completed call for clean power. Construction is expected to start in 2011, with a target date for delivery of electricity in late 2012.

Meanwhile, Vancouver-based Finavera Renewables has secured up to C$7.5 million from GE Energy to further the development of four wind energy projects that also won power purchase contracts in the BC Hydro call.

The loan will tide Finavera through the final development stages of the projects to financial close. It will be paid back repaid at the close of each project. GE would also be the preferred wind turbine supplier for the projects, which have a combined capacity of 301 MW and are located in northeastern British Columbia.

A third BC developer, Edmonton-based Capital Power Corporation, recently passed a major milestone in the development its C$455 million, 142MW Quality Wind Project near Tumbler Ridge.

The project, which was also a winner in BC Hydro’s call, received an environmental assessment certificate from the BC government. Preliminary construction of the project, which will use 79 Vestas 1.8MW turbines, is expected to begin later this year, with commercial operation set for the end of 2012.

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