VANCOUVER, Feb. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - Finavera Wind Energy Inc. ("Finavera" or the "Company") (TSX-V: FVR) is pleased to provide the following corporate and project update. Finavera is developing the 47 megawatt ("MW") Tumbler Ridge, 77 MW Wildmare, 117 MW Meikle, and 60 MW Bullmoose wind energy projects in North Eastern British Columbia, Canada and the 105 MW Cloosh Valley wind project in Ireland. The four BC Projects all have 25 year Electricity Purchase Agreements with the AAA rated British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority and the Cloosh Valley Project qualifies for a feed-in tariff. All five projects are either at an advanced stage of permitting or have received full planning permission.
Finavera Wind Energy CEO Jason Bak said, "I would like to take this opportunity to provide shareholders with a corporate update as we continue to complete significant work on our portfolio of wind projects in British Columbia and Ireland. The coming year will represent a pivotal period in the development of the Company as we plan to reach final permitting approval and financial close on our first two wind projects and begin construction on our 47 MW Tumbler Ridge project. The jump in value we expect as we drive these from early stage development to a fully permitted construction stage will be significant. Finavera currently finds itself at an inflection point and we believe that the Company is on the cusp of a significant re-valuation."
Environmental Assessment Update
Progress continues to be made on the Environmental Assessment Applications for the Tumbler Ridge, Wildmare, and Meikle projects. As of January 27th, 2012 the Application review period resumed for the Tumbler Ridge Project. Within 33 days of that date, the Environmental Assessment Office ("EAO") will submit a recommendation to the British Columbia Ministers of Energy and of the Environment. The Ministers will then have up to 45 days to assess the application. A decision on whether or not to grant an Environmental Assessment Certificate ("EAC") for the project will therefore be made between the beginning of March and mid-April of this year.
The 77 MW Wildmare Wind Energy Project is also on track to advance in the application review process. There has been additional information required for the Wildmare Project by the EAO since its submission in April 2011 which is similar in nature to the information that was submitted for Tumbler Ridge. A process with the EAO was agreed upon where the Tumbler Ridge application would form a template for the Wildmare Project EAC application. This approach should result in a more efficient assessment of the Wildmare Project's application.
The 117 MW Meikle Wind Energy Project is awaiting final submission into the Environmental Assessment Application review process. The Application includes detailed descriptions of the project, summaries of the studies conducted to assess baseline conditions, and an extensive analysis of potential direct and cumulative impacts relating to the construction and operation of the project. The Company is working with its environmental consultants and the EAO to determine the most appropriate timing for the submission of the Application. The Application has already been submitted for pre-screening and has received comments from the EAO. The next stage is full submission, which will trigger the 180 day review period.
Commercial Operation Dates
As a result of the six month delay associated with the Environmental Assessment Application process, the Company has initiated discussions with BC Hydro with respect to the Tumbler Ridge, Wildmare, and Meikle targeted commercial operation dates. While a compressed construction schedule may be possible it would carry substantial completion risk. As such, the Company is recommending the following commercial operation dates which will provide an appropriate time to complete construction on budget: Tumbler Ridge, Q3 2013; Wildmare, Q3 2014; Meikle, Q4 2014; and Bullmoose, 2015.
The demand for power in British Columbia is increasing. New mines, liquefied natural gas plants, and increased industrial development will require a substantial amount of new electricity generation. The electricity that will be produced by our four wind energy projects will help fuel this growth.
GE Energy is the preferred supplier of turbines to Finavera's portfolio of projects in British Columbia. A Turbine Supply Agreement ("TSA") has been negotiated and is ready to be executed at financial close for the Tumbler Ridge Project. A construction contract bid package has been prepared by the Company and will be provided to potential construction contractors in advance of each project's financial close.
Project Finance Update
Finavera's strategy for financing its projects has a straightforward premise: provide the greatest possible long term return on investment for shareholders. There are multiple financing options available to the Company, of which GE Energy Financial Services ("GE EFS") is one alternative. Finavera currently has a Summary Agreement in place with GE EFS (as announced February 15, 2011) related to the Wildmare Wind Energy Project. We are assessing options for all of our projects. Those include joint ventures, equity partners, 100% project finance solutions, and business combinations.
Project finance commitments are required by Financial Close, and as the Company sees a steady increase in the value of its projects it may determine the prudent approach would be to wait until they are fully permitted before locking into a long term financing agreement. These alternatives are being assessed on a constant basis and any material developments will be communicated to shareholders. The Financial Close date for the Tumbler Ridge Project is currently estimated to be Q3, 2012 and Financial Close for the Wildmare Project is scheduled for Q4, 2012.
Valuation Discussion and Corporate Update
The current market has not been kind to small developers. The wind project development business is not a straight line to success. There are permitting twists and turns. As Finavera navigates these obstacles, the Company continues to build substantial value in its core assets which the Company believes is substantially greater than its current market capitalization. Those assets now include four 25 year power purchase agreements with BC Hydro that will generate approximately $1 billion dollars over their lifetime. The Company will also receive an additional €7.14 million from its co-development partner, SSE plc, of the Cloosh Valley project in Ireland at financial close which is currently estimated to be Q1, 2013.
Regularly published power industry data provides some context for the valuation of wind energy projects. The data illustrates the average multiples paid for projects in 2011. Early stage projects have sold for more than $60,000/MW. Projects that are fully permitted and have a power purchase agreement have sold for more than $500,000/MW. The jump in value from the early stage to the next stage is significant. Finavera currently finds itself at this inflection point. Our projects are being valued in the public markets as early stage, yet we are a few short months away from being fully permitted on our first two projects. We believe Finavera is on the cusp of a significant asset re-valuation.
"Finavera continues to see success with the achievement of significant milestones in the development of its project pipeline. This forthcoming year will be a ground breaking year for growth and opportunity for the Company and its shareholders as we move from being a development focused company, to one focused on the financing and construction of significant wind energy projects in Canada and Ireland," Finavera Wind Energy CEO Jason Bak concluded.
The following table displays upcoming key milestones and their project completion dates. The milestones and their project completion dates are provided as a guideline only and are subject to change.
|Environmental Assessment Certificate - Tumbler Ridge||April, 2012|
|Environmental Assessment Certificate - Wildmare||May, 2012|
|EPC Selection Process - Tumbler Ridge||Q2, 2012|
|EPC Selection - Wildmare||Q4, 2012|
|Turbine Supply Agreement - Tumbler Ridge||Q2, 2012|
|Turbine Supply Agreement - Wildmare||Q3, 2012|
|Financial Close - Tumbler Ridge||Q3, 2012|
|Financial Close - Wildmare||Q4, 2012|
|Financial Close - Cloosh Valley||Q1, 2013|
|Commercial Operation Date - Tumbler Ridge||Q3, 2013|
|Commercial Operation Date - Wildmare||Q3, 2014|
|Commercial Operation Date - Meikle||Q4, 2014|
|Commercial Operation Date - Bullmoose||Q4, 2015|
|Commercial Operation Date - Cloosh Valley||Q1, 2016|
Jason Bak, CEO
About Finavera Wind Energy Inc. (www.finavera.com)
Finavera Wind Energy is a wind energy development company focused on developing, constructing, and operating wind farms in North America and Ireland. Our mission is to create and operate a viable renewable energy business while protecting and enhancing the physical and social environment. In British Columbia, Canada, projects totaling 301 MW have been awarded 25 year Electricity Purchase Agreements. In Ireland, the Company has signed a co-development agreement with SSE plc and Coillte Teoranta (the Irish Forestry Board) for the development and construction of Ireland's largest wind farm, the 105MW Cloosh Valley Wind Project. Data collection and environmental studies have also been continuing at a number of prospective sites in Canada and the United States.
Statements in this news release, other than purely historical information, including statements relating to the Company's future plans and objectives or expected results, constitute Forward-looking statements. The words "would", "will", "expected" and "estimated" or other similar words and phrases are intended to identify forward-looking information. Forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the Company's actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different than those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. Such factors include, but are not limited to: uncertainties related to the ability to raise sufficient capital, changes in economic conditions or financial markets, litigation, legislative or other judicial, regulatory and political competitive developments and technological or operational difficulties. Consequently, actual results may vary materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.
"Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release."
For further information:
Finavera Wind Energy
SVP Business Development
Finavera Wind Energy