Haida Signs MOU for an Option to Invest in Naikun Offshore Wind Energy Project

Aboriginal Law Blog

August 13, 2009

Haida Enterprise Corporation ("HEC"), the business arm of the Haida Nation, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc. ("Naikun") for an option to purchase an up to 40% stake in the Naikun Wind energy project off BC's north coast. HEC and the Haida Nation plan to seek federal support for their participation, and consider the initiative to fit with the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.

The $2-billion project will be financed with 70 per cent debt and 30 per cent equity. The Haida equity share is $240 million. NaiKun and Enmax Green Power Inc. currently each own 50 per cent of the project company.

The Naikun project is a proposed 396 MW Phase 1 offshore wind energy project located in the traditional territory of the Haida Nation, in the Hecate Strait (the "Project"). Naikun submitted a proposal for the Project on November 24, 2008 into BC Hydro's Clean Power Call ("Clean Power Call"), and its Environmental Assessment application for Phase 1 to British Columbia's Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) was accepted on May 20, 2009.

Final evaluation of proposals and Electricity Purchase Agreements (EPAs) with BC Hydro were scheduled for Mid-April through June 2009 for the Clean Power Call. Evaluation and execution of EPAs has been delayed, due in part to the British Columbia Utilities Commission's (BCUC) decision on BC Hydro's long-term acquisition plan (LTAP), which we have blogged on a previous post. BCUC's decision has created some uncertainty with respect to the Clean Power Call and how much power will ultimately be purchased by BC Hydro, and when. Despite BCUC's decision, the Government of BC has stated that they remain committed to moving forward with the Clean Power Call, and firmly committed to the BC Energy Plan and that development of clean energy resources in the province remains a priority.

Whether the Clean Power Call proceeds as designed or not, HEC and the Haida Nations involvement with the Project has provided optimism for the Haida Nation and Naikun for a successful wind-energy future off the coast of BC, and ultimately for a signed EPA with BC Hydro.