Northland Power said Aug. 7, in reporting its second quarter 2013 results, that it is making progress on a number of power plant development projects.
Northland’s wholly-owned 260-MW North Battleford natural gas-fired combined cycle facility achieved commercial operations on June 5, after completing all required tests. The facility is located in west central Saskatchewan and provides baseload power to the Saskatchewan power grid under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Saskatchewan Power. With North Battleford in operation, Northland now generates over 340 MW of electricity in Saskatchewan. The facility was constructed by Kiewit Power Partners under an engineering, procurement and construction contract.
Northland has thirteen 10-MW ground-mounted solar projects that were contracted under the Ontario Power Authority‘s (OPA) feed-in-tariff (FIT) program. The projects were divided into three phases for implementation. Phase I consists of six projects, of which four achieved commercial operations on June 21. The fifth achieved commercial operations on July 27 and the sixth is expected to achieve commercial operations in late September. Phase I is expected to be completed within budget. Phase II consists of three projects. Preliminary construction began on two of these during the second quarter of 2013 and they are anticipated to commence commercial operations in early 2014. Phase III consists of the final four projects. Permitting activities for these are in progress.
On April 1, Northland acquired from The Probyn Group the controlling interest in Canadian Environmental Energy Corp. (CEEC) and all the shares of Chapais Power Services Inc. CEEC owns the voting shares in Kirkland Lake Power Corp. and Cochrane Power Corp., which respectively own the 132 MW Kirkland Lake and 40 MW Cochrane biomass and natural gas-fired power facilities which were already managed and operated by Northland. CEEC also owns the voting shares of the general partner of Chapais Énergie, Société en Commandite, owner of the 28 MW biomass-fired power facility in Chapais, Quebec. Northland will continue to manage the Kirkland Lake and Cochrane generating stations, and as of April 1, now also manages, through Chapais Power Services Inc., the operations of the Chapais station.
As a result of North Battleford and four of the first six Ground-mounted Solar Phase I projects reaching commercial operations and the additional economic interests in the Kirkland Lake and Cochrane facilities, Northland had 1,309 MW in operation at the end of the second quarter.
Construction of Northland’s 60-MW McLean’s Mountain wind project in Ontario progressed as expected during the quarter. The site access roads are nearly complete, the installation of foundations for the turbines, main substation, and switching station is underway, and work on the transmission line and submarine cable crossing is progressing. The project is scheduled to achieve commercial operations in early 2014.
Development of Northland’s projects under the OPA FIT program (including the Grand Bend wind project, the remaining seven ground-mounted solar projects and the Kabinakagami run-of-river project) progressed during the second quarter, primarily on permitting, initial engineering and construction contractor negotiations.
On Aug. 1, Northland announced it had entered into agreements for the rights to acquire a majority equity stake in Gemini, a 600-MW offshore wind project currently in advanced development. Gemini is located 85 kilometers off the coast of the Netherlands in the North Sea, which combines one of the strongest and most reliable wind resources in the world with favorable sea bed conditions, Northland pointed out. Construction of Gemini is expected to start in late 2014; it is expected to reach commercial operations in 2017.
Northland Power is an independent power producer founded in 1987, and publicly traded since 1997. The company owns or has a net economic interest in 1,319 MW of operating generating capacity, with an additional 90 MW of generating capacity currently in construction, and another 200 MW of wind, solar and run-of-river hydro projects with awarded power contracts. Northland’s cash flows are diversified over five geographically separate regions and regulatory jurisdictions in Canada, Europe and the United States. Northland Power’s common shares, Series 1 and Series 3 preferred shares and convertible debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NPI, NPI.PR.A, NPI.PR.C and NPI.DB.A, respectively.