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Hydro-Quebec, New Brunswick agree on asset purchase

Hydro-Quebec will pay C$3.2 billion (US$3 billion) to buy most of New Brunswick Power's generating facilities.

The agreement, which gives state-owned Hydro-Quebec better access to markets in the northeastern United States, has been scaled back from a C$4.75 billion (US$4.49 billion) deal announced in October 2009. The deal was announced Jan. 20, 2010.

Montreal-based Hydro-Quebec said it will now buy the bulk of government-operated New Brunswick Power's generating assets for C$1.8 billion (US$1.7 billion) and pay C$1.4 billion (US$1.3 billion) for a nuclear facility at Point Lepreau when refurbishment work is complete.

Power assets include seven hydroelectric generating stations, two diesel units, and firm transmission rights from those assets, including 670 MW with New England.

The transaction is expected to close on March 31, 2010.

Hydro-Quebec said it will act as an electricity wholesaler to New Brunswick Power, with a long-term contract that sets a rate of 7.35 Canadian cents per kilowatt for the first five years. After that, the price will change only according to New Brunswick's consumer price index.

New Brunswick will keep ownership and operations of the transmission system, which runs into the state of Maine, along with distribution assets.

"Our partnership with Quebec will secure lower energy costs for our province, leave NB Power as a New Brunswick-owned entity, and reaffirm our province's control over decisions affecting energy policy," said New Brunswick Premier Shawn Graham.

Algonquin Power & Utilities buys generation assets

Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. acquired 36.8 MW of generating assets in New Brunswick and Maine from Integrys Energy Services Inc.

Through the purchase of stock and assets, Algonquin acquired three hydroelectric generating stations, including the 34.5-MW Tinker station on the Aroostook River, Algonquin reported.

Additionally, Algonquin acquired five thermal generating stations and related transmission lines in proximity to the generating facilities.

Due to confidentiality provisions with the seller, the purchase price was not disclosed.

"We are very pleased with the recent acquisition of these long-lived, utility grade hydro assets" stated Ian Robertson, Algonquin's chief executive officer. "We believe this acquisition is accretive and will help us grow earnings from our portfolio of renewable and clean energy generating assets."

Algonquin's electric generation subsidiary includes 42 renewable energy facilities and 11 high-efficiency thermal energy facilities, representing more than 400 MW of capacity. The new assets are expected to deliver growth of more than 10 percent in Algonquin's renewable energy business.

Participant funding process postponed for Canadian project

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency postponed its participant funding process for the proposed Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project in British Columbia due to changes in timelines associated with the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement, the agency reported.

The proponent, Bute Hydro Inc., recently indicated that additional field work and analysis would be conducted in the spring and fall of 2010 before it will be in a position to submit its environmental impact statement. In light of this new information, the timelines for the review panel process will be delayed.

The participant funding process will be re-initiated when the proponent is in a position to confirm a timeline for the submission of its environmental impact statement. At that time, an announcement will be made with the revised funding amounts and the deadline to submit applications. Current applicants will have an opportunity to revise and re-submit their applications for consideration at that time.

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced in May 2009 the availability of C$250,000 (US$234,000) under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups and individuals to participate in the environmental review for the Bute Inlet Hydroelectric Project.

The agency administers the federal environmental assessment process, which identifies the environmental effects of proposed projects and measures to address those effects in support of sustainable development.

Information on the Participant Funding Program, the proposed project and on the environmental assessment process is available at www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

Bute Hydro Inc. plans to construct 17 run-of-river hydroelectric facilities in the vicinity of Bute Inlet. Components, in addition to the generating facilities, include a substation near the mouth of Southgate River, associated access roads and transmission lines.

Canada's Fort Chicago to acquire New York hydroelectric project

Fort Chicago Energy Partners in Calgary, Alberta, Canada said it agreed to buy the 33-MW Northbrook hydro facility in New York.

Fort Chicago will acquire the upstate New York project's owner, Northbrook New York, through an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary for about $US80 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2010.

Fort Chicago owns and operates energy infrastructure assets across North America.

The Northbrook facility began operations in 1986 and operates under a 50-year license that expires in 2032.

Run of River Power completes private placement of stock

British Columbia-based Run of River Power Inc. said it sold more than 12 million shares of common stock at a price of 19 cents per share.

The proceeds, C$2.3 million (US$2.2 million), will be used for the development of renewable energy projects and for working capital purposes.

The company has a portfolio of run-of-river and biomass power projects in British Columbia. It operates an Eco Logo certified hydro station at Brandywine Creek that generates cash flow under a 20-year contract with BC Hydro. The company said it has more the 740 MW of development potential.

Ojibway Power plans 6-MW hydro project in Ontario

Canada's Ojibway Power and Energy Group said it plans to construct a hydro project on the Namakan River near Lac La Croix, Ontario.

The 6.4-MW project at High Falls would be operated as a run-of-river station and would have about 31.5 gigawatt-hours of annual generation, the company reported.

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