Northland Power works toward completion of Grand Bend wind project in Ontario

Northland Power in a Nov. 9 quarterly earnings report said it is making progress with several projects, including two offshore wind farms in Europe and the Grand Bend onshore wind farm in Canada.

Construction activities at the Grand Bend wind farm are proceeding as expected. Procurement of major electrical equipment is substantially complete. The project remains on budget. Completion of the project is expected near the end of the third quarter of 2016 due to the anticipated late delivery of wind turbines by the vendor, for which Northland will be partially compensated on a financial basis. Grand Bend Wind LP owns the 100 MW (50 MW net interest to Northland) wind farm project under construction in southern Ontario.

Also during the third quarter, for the 102-MW Kirkland Lake plant in Ontario, finalized was an amendment to the power purchase agreement (PPA) for the 40-year baseload gas-fueled portion of the facility that secured future pricing terms until 2030. All three components of Kirkland Lake (biomass, peaking, and baseload) are now contracted through 2030 and, in the case of the 30-MW peaking facility, through 2035. 

Main equipment for baseload portion of Kirkland Lake is three 24-MW General Electric LM 2500 gas-fired turbines with heat recovery steam generators and two (18 MW and 20 MW) steam turbine-generator sets. The main equipment for the peaker is one 30-MW General Electric LM2500 Plus gas turbine.

In September, the 28-MW biomass facility Chapais Énergie, Société en Commandite (Chapais) signed a memorandum of understanding with Hydro-Québec providing for a new energy contract. Effective Dec. 1, 2015, for a term of 43 months, the new contract will replace the existing contract, expiring Nov. 30 of this year.

As of Sept. 30, Northland had these projects under construction:

  • 600 MW (360 MW net interest to Northland) Gemini offshore wind project in Europe, in the North Sea off the Netherlands;
  • 332 MW (282 MW net interest to Northland) Nordsee One offshore wind project in Europe, in the North Sea off Germany;
  • 100 MW (50 MW net interest to Northland) Grand Bend wind project; and
  • 10 MW (approximately 6 MW net interest to Northland) of ground-mounted solar projects.

Northland is involved in ground-mounted solar partnerships, which consist of twelve operating 10-MW solar projects in eastern and central Ontario, the first six of which are referred to as “Ground-mounted Solar Phase I.” The next three projects are referred to as “Ground-mounted Solar Phase II,” and the final four projects totalling 40 MW (25 MW net interest to Northland), of which three are in operation, are located in northern Ontario, and are referred to as “Ground-mounted Solar Phase III.”

Grand Bend completion has been delayed a bit

Northland and an entity created by the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation) are jointly developing the 100 MW (50 MW net to Northland) Grand Bend wind farm project under a 50/50 partnership. The project has a 20-year PPA with the Independent Electric System Operator (IESO) under the FIT program.

On March 31, Northland and the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation) completed project financing for the Grand Bend wind farm, with all of the equity contributed to the project and all debt required for the project fully committed by the project lenders. The switching station is on track for completion by the end of December 2015. The collector cables have been placed and splicing of cable joints is more than 30% complete. All conduit for transmission cable has been installed and over 80% of the underground transmission cable has been pulled. All turbine location access roads are complete and over 30 foundations have been poured.

Completion of the Grand Bend project is now scheduled near the end of the third quarter of 2016 due to expected late delivery of wind turbines by the vendor. Northland will be financially compensated by the turbine vendor for a significant portion of the financial consequences of the delays, through liquidated damages payable pursuant to the turbine supply contract.

In 2010, Northland secured 20-year PPAs for the GMS Projects qualifying under the Green Energy Act, 2009. The 130 MW GMS Projects were built or in phases and have all been financed and are substantially complete. As of the date of this Nov. 9 report, 13 projects totalling 130 MW are operating and are performing according to and in some cases better than Northland’s expectations.

Said Northland Power about its outlook: “During the first nine months of 2015 and through the date of this report, Northland continued to expand its earlier-stage development pipeline, pursuing opportunities that meet the Company’s investment criteria in targeted markets including North America, Europe, Latin America, and Mexico. Northland has identified a number of opportunities in these jurisdictions, in addition to several projects already under development. Northland’s sustained focus is on purposefully advancing those development opportunities that align with the Company’s business strategy while prudently managing the cost exposure of earlier-stage projects.”

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.