GE Energy acquires stake in 196-MW East Toba-Montrose

Plutonic Power Corp. said it will provide a Canadian affiliate of GE Energy Financial Services an ownership stake in the proposed 196-MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek hydroelectric project in British Columbia.

GE Energy Financial Services, based in Stamford, Conn., in the U.S., will provide C$100 million (US$90 million) of project equity and lead a C$400 million (US$362 million) debt financing for construction of the project, Plutonic announced Aug. 30.

In return for the equity investment, Plutonic will provide GE 49 percent equity and 60 percent economic interest in the project. Following a 35-year term, GE’s economic interests will convert to 49 percent. GE also has the right to match any equity investment offer Plutonic receives for a second hydroelectric project in development, 15-MW Rainy River.

BC Hydro signs to buy power from East Toba-Montrose, Rainy River

In a separate announcement, Plutonic said it signed two energy purchase agreements to supply BC Hydro about 752 gigawatt-hours per year for 35 years from the East Toba River and Montrose Creek project and from Rainy River.

The East Toba River and Montrose Creek project will include the 123-MW East Toba River and 73-MW Montrose Creek developments, at the headwaters of Toba Inlet, north of Powell River and 190 kilometers northwest of Vancouver. The Rainy River site is located on Howe Sound, 10 kilometers north of Vancouver.

The projects were among 29 hydro projects BC Hydro chose in July in its 2006 call for power. (HNN 7/28/06)

Plutonic President Donald McInnes said the GE Energy Financial Services agreement will enable Plutonic to focus on executing a fixed-price engineering-procurement-construction contract, and completing of permitting and First Nation relationships. He added it paves the way to complete a debt package for construction financing of East Toba River and Montrose Creek, and to work toward a debt and equity package for Rainy River.

Plutonic said it expects to achieve those milestones by the end of 2006, allowing for construction to begin in early 2007.

For information, contact: McInnes at Plutonic Power Corp., 888 Dunsmuir St., Suite 600, Vancouver, BC V6C 3K4 Canada; (1) 604-669-4999; E-mail: donald@plutonic.ca.

The East Toba River-Montrose Creek and Rainy River projects will require about C$550 million (US$497 million), which Plutonic said would be the largest single private sector renewable energy investment in the history of British Columbia. The investment is expected to generate C$60 million to C$70 million (US$54 million to US$63 million) annually in revenue.

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