Boralex Inc. said June 4 that it has commercially commissioned its 22-MW Jamie Creek hydroelectric station in British Columbia, Canada.
“After a year of construction, we’re proud of the newest addition to our asset portfolio. Boralex has over 20 years’ experience building and operating hydroelectric assets, which it leveraged to complete this project and will continue leveraging over the asset’s lifetime,” said Boralex President and CEO Patrick Lemaire.
Covered by a 40-year power sales contract with BC Hydro, Jamie Creek is a run-of-the river station and Boralex’s first high waterfall or “high-head” facility. Another distinctive feature is the station’s two water intakes, consisting of a bypass line of over 1.1 kilometers and a penstock pipe of over 2.6 kilometers, supplying the two Pelton turbines.
“The commissioning of Jamie Creek is a perfect fit with our growth strategy aimed primarily at hydroelectric and wind power assets covered by long-term contracts. It also expands our footprint in British Columbia, where Boralex now has 36.5 MW of hydroelectric power and is actively pursuing development efforts,” added Lemaire.
Boralex currently operates an asset base with an installed capacity of more than 650 MW in Canada, France and the northeastern United States. Boralex is also committed under power development projects, both independently and with Canadian and European partners, to add approximately 250 MW of power that will be put in service by the end of 2015.
Boralex’s shares and convertible debentures are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the ticker symbols BLX and BLX.DB, respectively.
Boralex has new Canadian wind capacity in the pipeline
In a May 7 financial report, the company said that it and its partner Gaz Métro LP are working together to implement a second phase in the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farm in Canada with a 68 MW capacity (share of 34 MW for Boralex), scheduled for commissioning in December 2014. In May 2013, the partners formed a second joint venture, Joint Venture Phase II, with an ownership interest of 50% for Boralex, to continue the construction activities and subsequently to operate Phase II. Construction is underway on this project.
Boralex said it continues work on two community wind farm projects developed jointly with the Québec Regional Country Municipalities (RCMs) of Témiscouata and La Côte-de-Beaupré, securing 20-year power sales contracts with Hydro-Québec. These wind farms, with a capacity of 25 MW each, are to be commissioned late in 2014 and in 2015, respectively. For the Témiscouata I project, construction began in September 2013. The Côte-de-Beaupré project is undergoing an environmental approval process.
Boralex also entered into a 20-year power supply contract with Hydro-Québec for a 50-MW wind farm project, Témiscouata II, expected to be commissioned in late 2015. The project will be developed in the Témiscouata RCM on a site adjacent to the above-mentioned community wind farm project. Construction began in the first quarter of 2014.
“Although Canada is not as far along as France in its support of wind power, Canadian provincial governments have proved increasingly amenable to this renewable energy source,” said the financial report. ”Québec is the second largest wind power producer among the Canadian provinces, after Ontario, with more than 2,000 MW of installed capacity, and in December 2013, issued a request for proposals (‘RFP’) for a total of 450 MW in additional wind power infrastructure. This RFP is aimed at development projects with 50% community involvement, such as certain projects currently under development by Boralex and its partners. While it is too early to assess the impact of the recent governmental change in Québec on the program, Boralex intends to submit a bid under this RFP by proposing new projects for a significant portion of the RFP and believes that it is well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.”
The Ontario government is also planning to issue two RFPs for 600 MW of wind power, with details forthcoming in the spring of 2014, the company added. Following the success of its first facility in Ontario where it has been operating the 90-MW Thames River wind farm since 2009, Boralex said it is reviewing opportunities to strengthen its presence in this market.
The British Columbia government has also been amenable to developing wind power within the province, and Boralex said it has been closely analyzing potential opportunities in that province for some time.
Boralex wants to grow its hydro portfolio
Boralex said it is currently reviewing certain acquisition opportunities to grow its hydroelectric segment, particularly in Ontario. With over twenty years’ experience in hydroelectric power, a skilled team and high quality assets, Boralex believes it is poised to make further inroads into the hydroelectric market.
Since 2011, Boralex has slashed the relative weight of the thermal power segment in its energy portfolio. While thermal power is not a preferred development target under Boralex’s growth strategy, it said it is still open to business opportunities that arise in the sector, provided the assets are covered by long-term power sales and raw material supply contracts, and meet Boralex’s market position and performance objectives. It has thermal assets in Canada and France.
Solar power is a high-growth industry with market rules and government positions to be worked out in the years to come. Boralex added that it believes solar has great potential, particularly as performance gradually improves through technological breakthroughs. In addition to the European market, more specifically France where Boralex has built a skilled solar project development team, the company is particularly interested in the Ontario market, which could offer attractive potential for Boralex to make inroads in this Canadian niche market.