Brookfield Renewable makes deal for Alcoa's 351-MW Tapoco hydroelectric project

GATINEAU, Quebec, Canada 7/3/12 (PennWell) -- Canada-based power producer Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners has struck a deal worth US$600 million with Alcoa Inc. to purchase its 351-MW Tapoco hydropower project.

Tapoco, which includes four hydropower generating sites -- Calderwood, Cheoah, Chilhowee and Santeetlah -- is located on the Little Tennessee and Cheoah rivers along the Tennessee/North Carolina border.

"The Tapoco facilities are proven generation assets and attractively situated in our core markets," says Brookfield Renewable Energy Chief Executive Officer Richard Legault.

"The southern United States has favorable supply-demand dynamics with one of the highest areas of load growth in the U.S. and over the long-term should benefit from planned coal retirements and scarcity value by delivering clean, sustainable and on-peak renewable power."

The deal also includes 86 miles of transmission line and about 14,500 acres of land in addition to four generating stations and dams.

"We believe this acquisition provides a unique opportunity to capture rising electricity prices, and our operating platform and expertise is well-suited to maximize the value of this portfolio over the long term," Legault says.

HydroWorld.com reported in June that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) had approved requests by Alcoa for upgrades at the Cheoah hydropower site. The work was part of a modernization project announced in August 2010.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

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