Plutonic Power, GE submit bids for large Canadian hydro projects

3 December 2008

Plutonic Power Corporation and GE Energy Financial Services have submitted bids for the Upper Toba and Bute Inlet projects, which - if approved - would be Canada's largest single private sector hydroelectric generation investment at more than C$4 bn.

The submissions into BC Hydro's 2008 Clean Power Call outline the development of approximately 1200 MW of run-of-river hydroelectric capacity in the Toba and Bute Inlets along British Columbia's southwest coast, where GE and Plutonic Power Corporation are already building the 196MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek hydroelectric project.

The Upper Toba Valley hydroelectric project, with a generation capacity of approximately 166 MW, consists of three facilities that will connect to the BC Hydro grid through a 230kV line already under construction for the East Toba River and Montrose Creek project. The project - which will take advantage of infrastructure already in place in the Toba Valley - is expected to be permitted by the end of the second quarter in 2009.

The 1027 MW Bute Inlet project consists of 17 facility sites in three areas: the Homathko, Southgate and Orford Rivers. The Bute Projects have been registered with both provincial and federal permitting authorities. A formal application for an environmental assessment certificate is expected to be submitted in late 2009.

This week's bid submissions are in response to BC Hydro's Request for Proposals issued in June for 5000GWh per year of seasonal and hourly firm energy to help make British Columbia electricity self-sufficient by 2016, and meet demand using 90% clean domestic generation sources. BC Hydro says it intends to award energy purchase agreements to winning bidders from April-June 2009.

GE Energy Financial Services intends to fund or arrange equity contributions to the projects, subject to such conditions as satisfactory due diligence and formal documentation, as well as approvals by investment committees, boards of directors and regulators. GE Energy Financial Services also has the right to fund or arrange the debt required for the projects.

'Today's submission is the culmination of four years of planning, engineering, consultation, permitting and licensing,' said Plutonic Power Corporation vice-chair and CEO, Donald McInnes. 'We are grateful to our First Nations partners, and the cities of Powell River and Campbell River for supporting our bids, reflecting broad public endorsement. These projects will provide long-term economic and social benefits to these First Nations and communities in addition to providing BC Hydro with clean electricity.'

These projects will expand GE Energy Financial Services' US$4bn portfolio of renewable energy investments worldwide.

'Our joint bids with Plutonic show our support of green energy generation in British Columbia, potential progress toward our goal of investing US $6 billion in renewable energy worldwide by the end of 2010, and reinforcement of GE's ecomagination, a program to help our customers meet their environmental goals while expanding our own portfolio of cleaner energy projects,' said Mark Tonner, Managing Director of Canada at GE Energy Financial Services.

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