Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Emera adds to wind holdings

Firm now owns Digby Neck wind farm

Nova Scotia Power Inc.’s parent company has gobbled up the remaining interests in a 20-turbine wind farm in Digby Neck.

Emera Inc. announced Tuesday that it has purchased 100 per cent of the shares Scotian WindFields Inc. had in the project.

Emera purchased the other half of the project last November from SkyPower Corp., which entered into creditor protection when owner Lehman Brothers Holding Inc. went bankrupt.

"As we moved through that process, we started into meetings and discussions with Scotian. We ended up purchasing their interest as well," said Emera spokeswoman Sasha Irving.

Ms. Irving could not disclose the purchase price but the development cost of the wind farm is estimated to be between $70 million and $80 million.Emera finalized the purchase of Scotian Windfields on Feb.1. The deal includes a development agreement that will see Scotian Windfields continue to work on the project in an unspecified capacity. Development costs on the Digby wind project were about $19.1 million when SkyPower filed for creditor protection in August.

The company also paid US$16.2 million towards the cost of purchasing 20 wind turbines from General Electric Co. The total cost of purchasing the turbines is about US$41.1 million, according to court documents.

Dan Roscoe, chief operating officer of Scotian Windfields, said the project can now move toward completion. "We think this is a very positive move for our investors for what we had invested in to this project," he said Tuesday.

"I think this project is a project that Nova Scotia needs. We need it to meet our renewable energy goals and greenhouse gas emission targets and we look forward to working with Emera to get it done."

The Digby wind project includes a 20-year power purchase agreement with Nova Scotia Power. The project is expected to be completed by Dec. 31 and is expected to produce enough energy to serve about 10,000 homes.

The transaction was financed with existing credit facilities.

Nova Scotia Power has a stake in two other wind projects being developed in Nova Scotia.

Last month, the utility announced it was spending $28 million to kick-start a stalled wind power project in Point Tupper. Under the agreement, Renewable Energy Services Ltd. of Lower Sackville will build and operate the wind farm in Richmond County and Nova Scotia Power will have a 49 per cent interest.

Last year, Nova Scotia Power purchased the $120-million Nuttby Mountain project in Colchester County from EarthFirst Canada Inc. of Calgary. The project had stalled due to the global credit crisis.

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