Plutonic Power Corporation and GE Energy Financial Services are joining forces to propose construction of a 1000 MW, $4 billion hydropower project in Canada.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on a bid to develop the project under the 2008 BC Hydro Clean Power Call Request for Proposals. The joint investment would be the largest single private sector investment in hydroelectric generation in Canada.

The project would be a run-of-river scheme in the Toba and Bute Inlets along the southwest coast of British Colombia. The plants would generate enough electricity to meet the needs of over 300 000 homes and will offset over 2.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

The Upper Toba Valley project would consist of a series of three sites with a capacity of approximately 120 MW, while the Bute Inlet project would comprise 18 sites with an approximate capacity of 900 MW. Both are in the permitting and review stages of the Environmental Assessment Process.

The Bute project is located north of the Toba Valley, where Plutonic and GE Energy Financial Services are already partnering on the $660 million, 196 MW East Toba River/Montrose Creek run-of-river hydroelectric power project. That project has been under construction since July 2007.

The BC Hydro Clean Power Call Request for Proposals is designed to encourage the development of renewable energy and is underpinned by the BC Energy Plan, which aims for zero net greenhouse gas emissions for all new projects in the province and electricity self-sufficiency by 2016.

GE says that if the two entities’ joint bid is accepted, GE Energy Financial Services intends to make an equity contribution of $70 million for a 50 per cent interest in the Upper Toba Valley project and either by itself, or with other partners, an equity contribution of $650 million for a 60 per cent interest in the Bute Inlet project.

Plutonic Power would be responsible for all costs of permitting, public consultation and environmental assessment certification.