B$Z: Innergex Starts Commercial Operation of Fitzsimmons Creek Power Plant
Innergex Starts Commercial Operation of Fitzsimmons Creek Power Plant in the Resort Municipality of Whistler
Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. (TSX: INE) (¡°Innergex¡±) announces that its Fitzsimmons Creek run-of-river hydroelectric power generating plant (¡°Fitzsimmons Creek¡±), located between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains in the Resort Municipality of Whistler, British Columbia, is now in commercial operation. Fitzsimmons Creek¡¯s installed capacity is 7.5 MW (5 MW net), and its estimated yearly energy output is 33,000 MW-hr, equivalent to the annual power consumed by Whistler Blackcomb ski area, host of the alpine skiing venue for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Fitzsimmons Creek has an Electricity Purchase Agreement (¡°EPA¡±) with BC Hydro and Power Authority (¡°BC Hydro¡±) through the Standing Offer Program to sell power generated by this facility to BC Hydro for a term of forty years. According to Michel Letellier, President and Chief Executive Officer of Innergex, ¡°BC Hydro must be congratulated for its Standing Offer Program, which offers fullypermitted small renewable energy projects an EPA so they can move forward to the construction phase, as was the case with Fitzsimmons Creek. This program, well planned and well managed, encourages independent producers to invest in renewable energy projects, which helps the province attain its environmental policy objectives¡±.
According to Whistler Blackcomb¡¯s Arthur DeJong, Mountain Planning and Environment Resource Manager, ¡°The Fitzsimmons renewable energy power facility is a success story built on perseverance, purpose, and community partnership. We are privileged to work with Innergex, a company of such technical and visionary depth.¡±
An agreement with the Government of Canada has also been signed for Fitzsimmons Creek through the ecoENERGY for Renewable Power Program, which will provide an incentive of $10 per MW-hr of electricity produced over the first ten years of commercial operation. ¡°The ecoENERGY Program has already made possible the development of renewable energy projects which might not have been possible otherwise. We encourage the Government of Canada to continue supporting renewable energy,¡± explains Michel Letellier.
Innergex holds 66¨ø% of Fitzsimmons Creek and Ledcor Power Group Ltd. holds the remaining 33¨÷%. Construction of Fitzsimmons Creek began in July 2008 and was completed in January 2010 ahead of schedule and within budget ($33.2 million). The required performance tests were carried out successfully and BC Hydro has retroactively set the official commercial operation start date as January 26, 2010. Innergex¡¯s total net power production capacity is now 150 MW, when taking into account its own facilities and its 16.1% ownership in Innergex Power Income Fund (TSX: IEF.UN).