Northland Power likely to shut 42-MW Ontario power plant on May 11

Northland Power said May 7 that at midnight on May 11, its Cochrane Power affiliate will be forced to stop generating electricity for Ontario’s power grid, which is when its current agreement with the Ontario Electricity Finance Corp. (OEFC) will terminate.

Northland was granted an extension to May 11 from the agreement’s original end date in January to allow more time for Cochrane Power and the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to negotiate a new long-term agreement. However, concurrent with that extension, the Minister of Energy directed the IESO to suspend all negotiations until the IESO had developed a strategy for power generators such as Cochrane Power across the province. The Minister directed the IESO to deliver that strategy in June, and then recently amended that to September, which is well past the May 11 expiration date of Cochrane Power’s agreement. 

“We have been working very hard to ensure a future for this facility, but without an agreement to sell our electricity to the grid, we are forced to stop generating it,” said John Brace, CEO, Northland Power. “It is difficult to understand why the facility has not been granted a further extension until the IESO’s strategy is delivered and negotiations can be concluded. Cochrane Power supports the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan; it is existing infrastructure, it is combined heat and power, and it uses biomass, a renewable resource, for power generation.”

The 42-MW Cochrane Power facility uses wood chips to generate electricity, all sourced from the waste material of local mills such as Tembec’s Cochrane facility and the just-opened Rockshield Engineered Wood Products factory. For the last 25 years, the power generation facility has been an integral part of the community. Cochrane Power also supplies heat to the Tim Horton Event Centre and is the single largest water customer for the Town of Cochrane.

“We are not giving up,” said Gary Huizing, the Cochrane-based Regional Manager of Northland Power. “Our staff will remain on the job as we continue to work hard to convince government to give us a new agreement or a further extension.”

Northland is an independent power producer founded in 1987, and publicly traded since 1997. Northland develops, builds, owns and operates facilities that produce ‘clean’ (natural gas) and ‘green’ (wind, solar, and hydro) energy, providing sustainable long-term value to shareholders, stakeholders, and host communities. It owns or has a net economic interest in 1,345 MW of operating generating capacity and 972 MW (682 MW net to Northland) of generating capacity under construction, including a 60% equity stake in Gemini, a 600 MW offshore wind project, an 85% equity stake in Nordsee One, a 332 MW offshore wind project, both located in the North Sea; as well as a 100 MW onshore wind farm in Grand Bend, Ontario.

Northland’s common shares, Series 1 and Series 3 preferred shares and Series B and Series C convertible debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NPI, NPI.PR.A, NPI.PR.C, NPI.DB.B, and NPI.DB.C, respectively.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.