GE Energy Financial Services announced today having signed an agreement with renewable wind energy developer EarthFirst Canada Inc to consider purchasing its Dokie Ridge Wind Project, the largest wind farm project under construction in British Columbia, which will have a generating a capacity of up to 300-megawatts.
GE Energy Financial Services said that subject to satisfaction of conditions, including due diligence and internal approvals, it has agreed to form a partnership with Plutonic Power Corporation which, provided the acquisition is completed, will own and operate the project, located 1,100 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, near Chetwynd.
The project is GE Energy Financial Services' and Plutonic's first wind energy investment in Canada and an expansion of their earlier hydroelectric power development venture.
The Dokie Project consists of the fully permitted and partially built 144-megawatt Dokie Phase 1 project using Vestas 3-megawatt V-90 turbines, together with the rights to expand the project to 300 megawatts. As partners, GE and Plutonic would jointly provide equity and seek project debt to complete construction. Financial details, including the expected capital costs of the project and the amount of the equity and debt required, have not yet been finalized.
EarthFirst has reported that the Dokie Phase 1 Project, once completed, would generate 340 gigawatt-hours annually; enough electricity to meet the annual needs of 34,000 homes and avoid more than 229,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from a coal plant or the equivalent of taking 44,000 cars off the road.
EarthFirst had previously obtained court-ordered protection from its creditors under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, and the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, Judicial Centre of Calgary on last Friday, 29 May 2009, had approved the proposed transactions involving the project though this is not guarantee that the acquisition will be completed, GE said.
Subject to fulfillment of conditions by 6 July, GE Energy Financial Services and Plutonic plan to complete the acquisition of the Dokie project within 45-days.
Subject to financial close, the partners anticipate resuming construction of the project this fall and completion in late 2010.
If the transaction is completed, the Dokie Project would expand GE's more than $4-billion portfolio of renewable energy investments worldwide and support the company's ecomagination initiative to help customers meet their environmental challenges.
The acquisition, if completed, would provide Plutonic with a near-term operating asset and a second platform for growth in wind energy.
Plutonic has capitalised on its relationship with GE Energy Financial Services to grow its portfolio of utility-scale renewable energy projects.
GE Energy Financial Services and Plutonic are already involved in three hydroelectric projects in British Columbia - the 196-megawatt East Toba River Montrose Creek project, under construction since July 2007, and have jointly bid the 166-megawatt Upper Toba Valley Project and the 1027-megawatt Bute Project into BC Hydro's 2008 Call for Power issued in November 2008.