GE Financial to double investment in renewables including hydro

GE Energy Financial Services announced plans May 24 to double its renewable energy investments by 2010, including its investment in Plutonic Power Corp.’s 196-MW East Toba River and Montrose Creek hydro project in Canada.

GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of General Electric, said its existing investments in renewable energy projects grew from $630 million in 2004 to $2 billion today. The expanded investment target would increase the share of renewable energy in its overall portfolio to nearly 20 percent, or $4 billion, by 2010, the company said.

The Stamford-based unit said investments in East Toba River and Montrose Creek, and a 209-MW wind energy project in Texas would help it reach its target.

The company first disclosed plans to invest in East Toba River and Montrose Creek in 2006. However, its latest announcement provides more details and some new financial figures.

GE Energy Financial Services now says it will invest up to C$112 million (US$103 million) to acquire 49 percent equity and 60 percent economic interest in the British Columbia project. Additionally, GE Energy Financial Services and Manulife Financial are leading a C$466 million (US$430 million) debt offering to finance the project. Construction is expected to start in mid-year. (HNN 5/23/07)

The company also said it would make C$30 million (US$27.7 million) of credit available to Plutonic to increase the capacity of a 230-kilovolt, 145-kilometer transmission line to be built as part of the project. That investment, the financial services company said, would pave the way for Plutonic to self-finance construction of three more Toba River Valley hydro projects totaling 116 MW.

In return for the credit, GE Energy Financial Services will have a right to negotiate to finance up to an additional 200 MW of other hydropower projects in British Columbia. Plutonic also will issue to GE 650,000 common share purchase warrants with an exercise price to be determined upon closing, GE said.

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