Canadian News

Vermont, Hydro-Quebec strike deal for power supplies

A pair of Vermont utilities signed a memorandum of understanding with provincial utility Hydro-Quebec, setting the stage for a new power supply contract for Vermont customers.

Canada’s largest electric utility will sell power to Green Mountain Power Corp. (GMP) and Central Vermont Public Service Corp. (CVPS), replacing existing contracts with the utilities that were set to expire in 2015.

“This agreement sets the stage for a new contract that will help us maintain what is arguably the cleanest power supply in the nation, while ensuring a relatively stable and affordable future for our customers,” CVPS President Bob Young and GMP President Mary Powell said in a joint statement. “It continues a relationship that has helped us provide competitive rates in the northeast, with minimal air and greenhouse impacts.”

Under the agreement, the term sheet is confidential to protect market-sensitive information, but the companies announced that they anticipate purchases totaling up to 225 MW starting in November 2012 and ending in 2038.

The term sheet includes a price-smoothing mechanism that will shield customers from volatile market spikes over this period.

Vermont gets a third of its power from Hydro-Quebec’s hydroelectric projects on James Bay.

Plutonic Power confident of long term deal

Plutonic Power Corp. officials said they were confident of securing a long-term contract after talks with British Columbia’s electricity utility led to a slimming down of a key hydropower project.

Discussions continue with BC Hydro on an Energy Purchase Agreement for the proposed Upper Toba Valley Hydroelectric Project along British Columbia’s southwest coast, Plutonic Power reported.

Plutonic, whose project partner is GE Energy Financial Services, has cut one of three planned run-of-river hydroelectric facilities from its Upper Toba Valley project.

Plutonic Chief Executive Donald McInnes said the decision to trim the project’s design capacity to 123.4 MW from 166 MW stemmed from talks with BC Hydro that showed capacity constraints on an area transmission line.

The project now will focus on two run-of-river hydroelectric facilities: Upper Toba River and Jimmie Creek. The original proposal included a hydro facility on Dalgleish Creek.

Plutonic said in a news release it has withdrawn a second project, Bute Inlet, from the clean power bid. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency reported it is postponing its participant funding process for the proposed Bute Inlet project due to changes in timelines associated with the submission of the Environmental Impact Statement.

Transformers supplied for Canada’s Revelstoke project

Three large generator transformers were delivered to BC Hydro’s Revelstoke Generating Station, one of several oversized deliveries for the Revelstoke Unit 5 project that also included transport of the thrust bracket and turbine shaft.

The delivery is part of a project to provide about 500 MW of additional capacity to the Revelstoke project. This will give the facility a capacity of 2,480 MW.

In 2009, a 188-ton turbine ordered by BC Hydro completed its 7,450-mile trek from Brazil to Revelstoke Dam.

Now that all of the main components have been delivered, project contractors will complete the assembly of the generating unit, transformers, and other electrical equipment. Once the assembly is complete, BC Hydro will start a test phase of the generating unit and related equipment.

The three transformers, each weighing 108 tons, were manufactured in Varrenes, Quebec, and transported by train to Revelstoke. Once in place, the transformers will transfer the additional energy supplied by the fifth generating unit.

The target in-service date for the project is October, 2010.

Motion filed over Upper Churchill contract

Churchill Falls Corporation Limited (CFLCo) filed a motion in Quebec Superior Court commencing proceedings against Hydro-Quebec to amend a 1969 pricing contract.

Under the contract, energy generated from the Churchill Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador is sold to Hydro-Quebec.

“The motion details the basis of our claim to have the pricing terms of the 1969 Upper Churchill Power Contract amended for the remaining term of the contract to 2041,” said Ed Martin, president and chief executive officer of CFLCo and Nalcor Energy. “We are asking the court to amend the contract pricing terms to address the inequity which has resulted from unforeseen circumstances.”

CFLCo said it sent a letter to Hydro-Quebec late in 2009 seeking a renegotiation of the contract. Hydro-Quebec, however, did not respond, CFLCo said.

It is CFLCo’s position that, since the power contract was initiated, circumstances have changed in a way that could not have been reasonably foreseen. Energy prices have escalated significantly, and access to export markets is now a possibility under open access regulations.

The purchase price under the contract is one-quarter of one cent per kilowatt hours, and the automatic renewal clause fixes the purchase price at one-fifth of one cent for the 25-year period beginning in 2016. This will mean power will be sold to Hydro-Quebec for less than 5 percent of its recent commercial value for the remainder of the contract.

British Columbia run-of-river project 80 percent complete

GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE, and Plutonic Power Corporation, announced that the 196 MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek hydroelectric project in British Columbia is more than 80 percent complete.

The C$660 million (US$632.1 million), 196-MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek Hydroelectric Project is 190 kilometers northwest of Vancouver at the headwaters of the Toba Inlet.

The GE-Plutonic partnership has nearly completed installation of generators and turbines at the facility, and a new electrical substation at Saltery Bay, which will be used to transfer power to British Columbia’s electricity grid, has been energized.

The run-of-river project is expected to be fully operational by the fourth quarter of 2010, with the potential to power about 75,000 homes and displace an estimated 455,000 tons of greenhouse gases annually.

Since construction began in July 2007, more than 600 construction jobs have been created, with additional permanent jobs for operations and ongoing seasonal maintenance requirements.

BC Hydro to purchase stake in Waneta Dam

The British Columbia Utilities Commission has given the green light for BC Hydro to purchase one third of Teck Resources Limited’s Waneta Dam and generating facility.

The commission approved the sale for C$825 million (US$771 million).

The commission also concluded that BC Hydro’s consultation with First Nations about the purchase had been adequate. BC Hydro and Teck Resources will now proceed to take the necessary steps to close the transaction, with a closing expected later this month.

The deal will secure about 1,000 GWh of electricity annually for BC Hydro, enough to supply 100,000 homes annually at C$64 per MWh over the life of the dam, the utility said.

The Waneta Dam is on the Pend Oreille River south of Trail, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. Its four generating units total 490 MW of capacity and produce an average of 2,800 gigawatt hours per year.

Innergex announces merger

Innergex Power Income Fund and Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. entered into a definitive agreement to undertake a strategic combination of the two entities.

Innergex Power Income Fund will acquire Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. by way of a reverse take-over, affecting at the same time the conversion of Innergex Power Income Fund to a corporation.

The combination will create a pure play corporation that will be one of the largest independent renewable power producers in Canada.

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