Northland Power Inc., the Aamjiwnaang First Nation, and Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation) announced the closing of project financing for the Grand Bend Wind Project, with all of the equity contributed to the project and all debt required for the project now fully committed by the project lenders. The 100-MW project, located near Grand Bend, Ontario, is a 50/50 partnership between Northland and Giiwedin Noodin FN Energy Corporation, which was created to hold the equity interest of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation) in the project.
“We are very pleased to have completed this critical part of the process,” noted Chief Chris Plain of Aamjiwnaang First Nation. “The Grand Bend project will allow us to utilize our traditional territories in a way that is in alignment with our values and philosophy, by contributing to a more sustainable future for our community and the province as a whole.”
Approximately 85% of the project’s required financing has been provided via approximately $326 million of non-recourse senior secured construction and term debt private placement fully underwritten by National Bank Financial Inc. who also acted as the Administrative Agent.
“This accomplishment reflects the successful collaboration of our respective teams,” added Chief Daniel Miskokomon of Bkejwanong Territory (Walpole Island First Nation). “Together, we can deliver a high quality project that will provide ongoing benefits, enabling our collective success and growth, both today and for generations to come.”
The Independent Electricity System Operator (formerly the Ontario Power Authority) awarded the Grand Bend project a 20 year contract under Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) program for renewable energy. The project will use 40 Siemens turbines. Construction on the project is underway, with commercial operation expected in the first half of 2016.
“Today’s announcement reflects an important project milestone,” said Northland CEO John Brace. “Once complete, this project will provide strong returns, from both an economic and environmental perspective. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Aamjiwnaang First Nation and Bkejwanong Territory as we work together in support of a more sustainable future. We would like to thank the government for ensuring such partnerships are possible through their ongoing commitment to progressive renewable energy policies, and the project financiers for their continued confidence in our abilities and projects.”
The Grand Bend project is Northland’s second wind project under the FIT Program. The 60 MW McLean’s Mountain Wind Farm located in Manitoulin Island, Ontario, began operations in 2014, and is also a 50/50 partnership with the local First Nations, the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising. Northland’s operating wind fleet also includes two wind farms in Quebec, totaling 228 MW.