Haida take $240-million stake in NaiKun wind project
COMMENT: And to all those First Nations out there still settling for a piddling 1% or 2% or even 10% or 20% equity stake in these power projects - set your sights higher! The Haida Nations have just negotiated a 40% equity stake. Even that is the short end of a potentially very lucrative stick - how about the 72% equity in the China Creek project which Chief Judith Sayers pulled off for the Hupacasath First Nation. Dam fine stuff, so to speak.
The Haida interest in Naikun will be funded, not surprisingly, by federal (and perhaps by provincial programs. That's all part of a fairly recent scheme on the part of the two governments to ensure that native opposition does not impeded the development of energy projects. (link to earlier related comments)
By Scott Simpson
VANCOUVER — The business arm of the Haida Nation announced Thursday an agreement with NaiKun Wind Energy Group to acquire a 40-per-cent equity stake in a $2-billion green power project on British Columbia's north coast.
The announcement further bolsters NaiKun's ambitious plan to establish a 396-megawatt wind park in Hecate Strait off the eastern coast of Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii).
Haida Enterprise Corporation (HaiCo) said it has signed a memorandum of understanding with NaiKun, and the first nation said future income from part ownership of the wind energy project "could provide the catalyst to enable the Haida Nation to create a sustainable economy for Haida Gwaii in areas such as forestry products, fisheries and aquaculture and tourism and recreation, as well as community infrastructure."
The $2-billion project will be financed with 70 per cent debt and 30 per cent equity. The Haida equity share is $240 million.
HaiCo and the Haida Nation said in a news release they will seek federal government support for their participation in the project.
"This initiative is in line with the objectives of the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development, announced in June 2009," the Haida said in the release.
“Our people have always put our lands, waters and culture first,” Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation, said in the release. “We are putting this project through a rigorous environmental assessment, and it is looking good. The next logical step is to work out the business case for our people, who could see this project as the centerpiece for our economic strategy.”
“This is a great opportunity for the Haida people, we see this as redirecting the earnings that would have normally gone to outside investors and is keeping them here at home” said Thomas Olsen, managing director of HaiCo.
“Not only will the proposed NaiKun Wind project create a significant number of jobs in the North Coast initially, but it allows us to invest the returns from our equity in a wide range of sustainable economic development opportunities on Haida Gwaii” he said.
“We look forward to working with the federal government on this initiative and are encouraged by the direction they have taken in the new Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development.”
NaiKun Wind president and CEO Paul Tayor called the deal an "an important step" for the project.
“Having the Haida Nation with an ownership interest in the proposed project company underscores their support and commitment," Taylor said in a news release.
NaiKun Wind and Enmax Green Power Inc. currently each own 50 per cent of the project company.
Visit Scott Simpson’s energy industry blog at www.vancouversun.com/energy
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