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Innergex secures deal for Northwest Stave River project

Canadian power producer Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. closed a US$69.75 million non-recourse construction and term project financing deal for the 17.5-MW Northwest Stave River project.

Innergex said the loan carries a 5.3% fixed interest rate that, upon the start of the project's commercial operation, will convert into a 40-year term loan. The principal will begin to be amortized over a 35-year period, starting in the sixth year.

Financing was arranged by Industrial Alliance Insurance and Financial Services Inc. as agent and lead lender, with Stonebridge Infrastructure Deb Fund I L.P. also serving as a lender.

"This agreement confirms the corporation's ability to secure appropriate project financing and serves as a reminder of its sound business model based on developing high-quality assets that generate stable and predictable cash flows over the long term," Innergex President and Chief Executive Officer Michel Letellier said.

The Northwest Stave River power plant is on Crown land near Mission, British Columbia, and will operate under a 40-year fixed-price power purchase agreement with BC Hydro as part of the 2008 Clean Power Call Request for Proposals. Construction on the project began in 2011, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.

Innergex currently operates 22 hydropower facilities.

Canadian hydropower plant to host tours

The Ontario Waterpower Association is celebrating this year's Doors Open Ottawa festivities in early June with a number of events, highlighted by educational tours of Hydro Ottawa's 8-MW Chaudiere Falls hydroelectric project.

Doors Open Ottawa is part of the Doors Open Ontario program - an annual event in which residents are invited to visit some of the most "interesting and architecturally intriguing buildings and sites" for educational and cultural enrichment.

Tours of Chaudiere Falls Generating Station No. 2 will be held June 1 and 2, but OWA said its members will be holding a series of events across the province throughout the summer months as well.

"Many Ontario communities were built around waterways, and waterpower was their first source of electricity," OWA President Paul Norris said. "These events provide the public with a unique opportunity to sneak a peek inside some historic gems and some brand new projects."

Chaudiere Falls Generating Station No. 2 - constructed by industrialist E.H. Bronson in 1891 - is a National Capital Commission heritage-designated building and one of the original buildings on Victoria Island. OWA said it believes the plant is the oldest operating hydropower project in Canada.

Hydro Ottawa recently acquired three generating stations, a 38.3% interest in the consortium that owns Chaudiere Falls Dam, and water rights at Chaudiere Falls. The deal gave the company control of six of the seven generating stations located at Chaudiere Falls.

Study will evaluate two Manitoba Hydro project proposals

The Manitoba government has announced the terms of reference that will be used to evaluate Manitoba Hydro's proposal to build two new hydropower projects in the province's northern region.

Called a "needs for and alternatives to" (NFAT) review, the evaluation will be undertaken by the Public Utilities Board (PUB) with regard to Manitoba Hydro's proposed 695-MW Keeyask and 1,485-MW Conawapa plants - both of which would be located on the Nelson River.

"Manitoba Hydro has developed a comprehensive plan for new hydroelectric development to meet a growing provincial demand for power and to take advantage of long-term export opportunities," said Manitoba Cabinet Minister David Chomiak. "Manitobans need to know that Hydro's plan is in their best interest, and that's what we are asking the PUB to verify."

PUB will use the NFAT to determine whether or not the new hydroelectric projects and their associated transmission facilities are justified when compared to other options, according to the Manitoba government.

The report will be conducted by a five-member panel, with the results to be submitted by June 20, 2014.

Keeyask would be built at the foot of Gull Rapids and at the head of Stephens Lake, the reservoir of Manitoba Hydro's 1,220-MW Kettle hydroelectric project.

OWA releases film documenting community partnership

The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) has released a documentary that highlights partnerships between First Nation groups and hydropower developers.

Titled Our Heritage, Our Future - The Kapuskasing River Waterpower Project, the film chronicles the development of relationships between the town of Kapuskasing, Ontario; developer HydroMega; and three First Nation Groups, including Brunswick House, Chapleau Ojibwe and Chapleau Cree.

"We are very excited to be sharing this story," OWA President Paul Norris said. "It's an example of First Nation communities being involved with economic partnership and business. This is a new business model in hydroelectricity, where communities are not just consulted but are equity partners."

The film outlines the development of the 22-MW Kapuskasing River Waterpower Project, which includes the development of four hydroelectric sites on the Kapuskasing River. Some of the generating stations are expected to be commissioned this year after work began in 2005.

"The Kapuskasing River Project has generated social and economic benefits for the municipality, First Nations and surrounding communities," said David Orazietti, Ontario's Minister of Natural Resources. "This project serves as an example of the significant potential for new investment in Northern Ontario."

OWA says it has identified more than 3,000 MW of untapped hydroelectric power within the province that, if developed, "could help moderate electricity prices for decades to come," hopefully with the partnership of First Nations.

Our Heritage, Our Future was made possible by the Waterpower Working Group, a collaborative comprised of aboriginal, industry and government parties. It can be viewed on WPWG's website at www.wpwg.org.


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