Emera, a privately-owned Canadian utility, is spending $541 million to acquire American generator Capital Power Corporation's combined-cycle gas-fired (CCGT) power stations on the US East Coast. Capital Power simultaneously announced it would wind down its commodity and energy trading business outside Alberta before year end. It said "operating complexity is significantly reduced by the divestiture of the northeast US plants."
The plants being acquired are the 520 MW Bridgeport Energy in Bridgeport, Connecticut; 265 MW Tiverton Power in Tiverton, Rhode Island; and 265 MW Rumford Power in Rumford, Maine.
Emera has interests in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, as well as gas transmission and utility energy services.
Capital Power Corporation is closing its Toronto office immediately and its Chicago office by 2014.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close by the end of 2013.
Strengthen renewable network with backup
Emera has operated in the New England gas and electricity markets for more than a decade.
The Canadian utility is adding gas power as a backup to its wind and hydro assets on the northeast, having in June 2012 formed a partnership with First Wind. It also owns investments in the Caribbean and gas grids.
The partnership Northeast Wind Partners operates eight wind turbine projects with a total capacity of 385MW.
Financing CCGTs with cash
Emera plans to finance its plants using a combined debt and equity investment. It expects make the purchase with cash and short term credit resources using its strong financial position and existing credit ratings.
Emera's president and CEO Chris Huskilson said, "Emera is making this investment for the long term.
"The earnings profile is modest in the early years, but we have acquired these facilities at a fair price and we expect their value will increase over time, as we optimize within our portfolio, as older, less efficient assets in the region are retired, and more intermittent renewable generation is added to the system."
Capital Power President & CEO Brian Vaasjo, said, "The transaction is consistent with our focus on enhancing Capital Power's returns for shareholders while rebalancing risk in our portfolio. The sale proceeds for the New England assets will be redeployed to reduce our merchant risk profile and provide more predictable earnings and cash flow."