Plutonic and the GE unit have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop a series of further run-of-river projects in the province at a capital cost of approximately Can$4B (US$3.76B).

The projects would be located in the Upper Toba Valley (approximately 120MW) and Bute Inlet (approximately 900MW) in the south west of BC, and the GE unit envisages taking 50% and 60% stakes in the respective areas for investments of Can$70M (US$65.8M) and Can$650M (US$611M).

The partners plan to build three plants in Upper Toba Valley and 18 projects in Bute Inlet. The projects are in the permitting and review stages of the environmental assessment process.

Under the MoU, the partners are planning to bid their portfolio of projects into BC Hydro’s next request for clean power proposals, which is scheduled for November.

Plutonic said that it would be responsible for meeting all costs of permits, consultation and environmental assessment prior to GE Energy Financial Services making its equity contribution. The GE unit is to arrange debt finance for the projects.

The partners are currently building their first scheme together – the 196MW East Toba/Montrose Creek plants, which is at the forefront of private and small run-of-river development in the province. Construction started a year ago and by mid-2008 the contractor, Peter Kiewit, had completed almost a third of the engineer, procure and construct (EPC) contract. The plant is due to be operational in 2010.