Finavera, GE to partner on wind farm

BRITISH COLUMBIA - A unit of General Electric Co plans to invest $40 million in a wind energy project being developed in the Canadian province of British Columbia by Finavera Wind Energy Inc, the small developer said.

GE Energy Financial Services has agreed to the indicative terms of an equity investment in a 77-megawatt Wildmare project that Finavera plans to build in northeastern British Columbia, Finavera said.

The long-awaited news propelled Finavera's stock 20 percent higher on the TSX Venture Exchange.

Finavera, a $40 million company, surprised Canada's renewable energy industry last March when it won the most 25-year power purchase contracts in British Columbia's clean electricity power award.

The Wildmare project is one of four wind developments by Finavera in the province. They are expected to cost $800 million to develop.

Under the proposed deal with GE, Finavera will retain a 30 percent stake in the Wildmare project although GE will pay for 100 percent of the equity, or $40 million. A further $160 million in debt will be raised together by the partners.

"We have spent a whole bunch of development dollars and taken the risk.... Now it's being rewarded with this 30 percent stake," Finavera Chief Executive Jason Bak told Reuters.

Bak expects to reach a final agreement with GE in the next two months. The announcement of a partner had been expected since last Fall but talks dragged on longer than expected.

Finavera is also in talks with GE on partnering on its other wind farms, the 47 MW Tumbler Ridge, 117 MW Meikle and 60 MW Bullmoose wind energy projects, Bak said.

GE, which is making a strong push into the wind turbine industry globally, has other investments in Canada's green energy industry. They own a stake in British Columbia's biggest wind farm, the 144 MW Dokie project.


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