PARTNERSHIP MOVES WANETA EXPANSION PROJECT FORWARD

CASTLEGAR, BC, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Columbia Power Corporation (CPC) and Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) have reached an agreement in principle with Fortis Inc. (Fortis) to further the advancement of the Waneta Expansion Project.

"As the only government MLA for the Kootenays, it is important to me that this project proceeds. The project brings approximately 400 jobs and $200 million in wages and benefits to the Kootenay region," said Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Bill Bennett. "This agreement is the result of a tremendous amount of hard work and co-operation from all the parties involved."

The proposed structure with Fortis would be a partnership, the equity interests of which will be owned 49 per cent by CPC and CBT and 51 per cent by Fortis. In addition, FortisBC Inc. (a subsidiary of Fortis), commits to purchasing capacity available from the project.

Both CPC and CBT acknowledged the efforts and support of the provincial government.

"This agreement is one more step towards the advancement of the Waneta Expansion Project," said Victor Jmaeff, Vice President, Sales and Development for CPC. "In particular, I'd like to recognize Bill Bennett for supporting and facilitating the project. It is a complex and challenging undertaking, but we are hopeful this very important project may now be realized."

A Notice of Intent has been posted on BC Bid giving interested parties the opportunity to express their interest in investing in the project if they can provide similar or improved economic benefits over those of Fortis. SNC-Lavalin remains the preferred proponent for the construction of the project. Interested companies can review the Notice of Intent online through BC Bid (www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca) and have until 4:30 p.m. (PST) on 13 September, 2010 to submit their proposals.

"This is an important milestone for both the partners and the region, and after months of hard work, we are pleased that we have a framework that could allow the project to move forward," said Neil Muth, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. "While this is a significant step forward, it is only the first of several processes that must be successfully concluded before construction on the project can begin."

The Waneta Expansion is a proposal to construct a second powerhouse adjacent to Teck's existing Waneta Dam on the Pend d'Oreille River, near Trail. The Province acquired expansion rights to the Waneta Dam in 1994 from Teck Cominco. The rights were transferred to Columbia Power Corporation in 1995 and are now held by Waneta Expansion Power Corporation, a subsidiary of Columbia Power and Columbia Basin Trust.

SOURCE COLUMBIA BASIN TRUST

For further information: For further information: Audrey Repin, Director, Communications and Community Relations, Columbia Power Corporation, Ph. 250.304.6044 or Cell 250.365.9502

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