Utility Enmax backs offshore venture

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Calgary-based Enmax Corporation has invested C$2 million to form a strategic partnership with Vancouver's NaiKun Wind Energy Group for the development of an offshore wind farm off the northwest coast of British Columbia (BC). For its investment, Enmax will receive 1.1 million shares in NaiKun Wind Energy Group at a price of $1.36 per share and a 50% stake in the subsidiary, NaiKun Generation Co Inc. The subsidiary will develop and own the 320 MW first phase of the project, which it is hoping to complete by 2010-2011. NaiKun is planning to build the full 1750 MW in five stages in the shallow waters of the Hecate Strait off the Queen Charlotte Islands. "Involving a proven world-class utility like Enmax is a major step forward for the NaiKun project," says NaiKun chairman Michael Burns. Enmax is the largest electricity retailer in the neighbouring province of Alberta and is already involved in three run-of-river hydro and two waste heat recovery projects in BC. In southern Alberta it owns a half-share of the 75 MW McBride Lake Wind Farm and is in the process of completing its 80 MW Taber Wind Farm. The NaiKun offshore project is a good fit, says the company's Ken Willis. "This is a unique development opportunity that gives us the ability to leverage our expertise in wind development, to continue to build our commitment to sustainable sources of energy, and to capitalise on the potential opportunities that the BC government's new energy policy presents." The province released its energy plan in late February requiring zero net greenhouse gas emissions from all new electricity projects and calling for the province to be energy self-sufficient by 2016. The plan also allows BC Hydro to directly negotiate power purchase agreements with the project developer, rather than rely only on competitive calls for power. The addition flexibility, says NaiKun president Ray Castelli, "recognises that not all projects share similar characteristics or time frames."

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