Fortis to invest in 335-MW Waneta Expansion hydro project in Canada

Fortis Inc., in partnership with Columbia Power Corp. and Columbia Basin Trust, will construct a 335-MW hydropower generating facility at an estimated cost of $900 million, Fortis announced.

The hydropower facility, named the Waneta Expansion, is sited near the Waneta Dam and powerhouse facilities on the Pend d'Oreille River, south of Trail, British Columbia. CPC/CBT are both wholly owned corporations of the government of British Columbia.

Subject to negotiation and completion of definitive agreements, Fortis will own 51 percent of the Waneta Expansion and will operate and maintain the non-regulated investment when the facility comes into service, which is expected in spring 2015. Federal and provincial environmental assessment approvals are in place for the project.

"Fortis is excited about this opportunity to grow our non-regulated hydroelectric generation business in British Columbia, where we have well-established regulated utility operations at FortisBC and Terasen Gas," said Stan Marshall, president and chief executive officer, Fortis Inc. "Fortis, through our operating and predecessor companies, has 125 years of expertise in the hydroelectric generation business. FortisBC and CPC/CBT have a lengthy, successful working relationship resulting from the many years that FortisBC has managed CPC/CBT's hydroelectric assets in the Columbia Basin."

The Waneta Expansion will become part of the Canal Plant Agreement and will receive fixed energy and capacity entitlements based upon long-term average water flows, thereby significantly reducing hydrologic risk associated with the project.

The energy, about 630 GWh, (and associated capacity required to deliver such energy) for the Waneta Expansion will be sold to BC Hydro under a long-term power purchase agreement at prices comparable to those for projects recently accepted by BC Hydro under its 2008 Clean Power Call.

The surplus capacity, equal to 234 MW on an average annual basis, will, subject to approval of the British Columbia Utilities Commission, be sold to FortisBC Inc. under a long-term capacity purchase agreement at a price within the range of alternatives outlined in FortisBC's Resource Plan filed with the BCUC in May 2009.

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