Trust, Columbia Power purchase Waneta expansion

Long-term financial benefits to the Columbia Basin and the Province

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Waneta Expansion.

Waneta Expansion. — Photo courtesy Fortis Inc.

(Castlegar, B.C.) – Columbia Basin Trust and Columbia Power Corporation announced they have entered into an agreement with Fortis Inc. to purchase its 51 per cent interest in the Waneta Expansion hydroelectric generating facility located near Trail, B.C. for $991 million.

“We are extremely pleased to be restoring ownership to the originally mandated 50/50 partnership,” said Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust and Acting President and CEO, Columbia Power Corporation. “Columbia Basin residents value the local ownership of all of our facilities and will enjoy even greater benefits now, and in the future, as more of the revenues are injected back into this region and to the Province.”

The Trust and Columbia Power, which currently own 49 per cent of Waneta Expansion, worked closely with the BC Government to make this purchase possible.

“This is an incredible opportunity for the government to work in collaboration with Columbia Power Corporation and Columbia Basin Trust to return this valued asset to the people of the Columbia Basin,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister Responsible for the Columbia River Treaty, Columbia Basin Trust and Columbia Power Corporation. “The return on this investment will benefit the province and residents of the Columbia Basin for generations to come.”

The 335-MW facility was constructed with Fortis ahead of schedule and on budget, adding a second powerhouse immediately downstream of the Waneta Dam on the Pend d’Orieille River. It shares the existing hydraulic head and generates clean, renewable, cost effective power from water that would otherwise be spilled, and provides enough energy to power 60,000 homes.

“Congratulations to Columbia Basin Trust, Columbia Power Corporation and Fortis for reaching this milestone,” said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “Thanks to your work the Waneta Expansion will provide real, lasting benefits for both the people of British Columbia and residents of the Columbia Basin.”

There will be no change to operations or to any key agreements. Long-term agreements are in place with BC Hydro to purchase the energy and with FortisBC to operate the facility and purchase surplus capacity.

“This facility is an extraordinary asset that wouldn’t have been possible without Fortis coming on board as a partner in 2010 to help with its development,” added Strilaeff. “I want to thank Fortis for our strong and collaborative relationship and we look forward to continuing to work with FortisBC as the operator of the facility and the purchaser of the surplus capacity.”

Financial close is expected in April 2019. See the announcement from Fortis here.

TD Securities Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP acted as legal counsel, and DCF Consulting acted as strategic transaction advisor to the Trust and Columbia Power.

Columbia Basin Trust is a regional crown corporation that supports the ideas and efforts of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org.

Columbia Power Corporation is a crown corporation that owns and operates hydro power facilities in the Columbia Basin. Learn more at columbiapower.org.

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