June 2 (Renewables Now) - Canadian independent power producer (IPP) TransAlta Renewables Inc (TSE:RNW) announced today that it has secured favourable agreements that will enable it to repair damaged foundations at its majority-owned 167-MW Kent Hills three-site wind farm complex in New Brunswick, Canada.
In autumn last year, a single wind turbine tower fell at the Kent Hills 2 site, leading TransAlta to shut down all 50 turbines at the Kent Hill 1 and 2 farms as a precaution due to the similarities in their design. After an investigation, the IPP found several cracked foundations at both Kent Hill 1 and 2.
Five turbines at Kent Hill 3 continued to operate normally.
Today, the company said that it has amended and extended its power purchase agreements (PPAs) tied to the three Kent Hills sites with off-taker New Brunswick Power Corporation (NB Power). Applying a blend-and-extend strategy, TransAlta was able to secure an additional ten-year period on the PPA term through to December 2045.
Under the new PPA terms, NB Power will enjoy a 10% reduction to the current contract price until 2033. After 2033, the contract price will be in line with current competitive pricing for wind generation and include escalators intended to reflect inflation, TransAlta said.
The parties also agreed to evaluate the installation of a battery energy storage system at Kent Hills and consider a potential repowering of the complex once it reaches the end of life in 2045.
NB Power will also work on TransAlta’s rehabilitation plan to replace all 50 foundations at Kent Hills 1 and 2, with a view to bring the two sites back online in mid-2023.
After determining the scope of the work ahead, TransAlta notified the trustee for outstanding non-recourse project bonds secured by the Kent Hills 1 and 2 sites that events of default may have occurred. Following engagement with trustee BNY Trust Company of Canada and project bondholders, the wind farm vehicle Kent Hills Wind LP was able to secure an acceptable waiver of those events of default. It had also entered into supplemental indenture that amends the bond indenture and facilitates the rehabilitation of the Kent Hills 1 and 2 sites, TransAlta added.
The 49 turbines that are still standing at the Kent Hills 1 and 2 sites will be dismantled, and all existing tower foundations will be removed and replaced. TransAlta estimates the total rehabilitation expenditure to stand at around CAD 120 million (USD 95.2m/EUR 88.9m), net of insurance and inclusive of contingency. The company said it would seek to recover costs and related damages from third parties.
Kent Hills Wind LP is TransAlta's indirect subsidiary and a vehicle in which Natural Forces Technologies owns interest that enables it to hold a 17% stake in each of the three wind farm sites.
(CAD 1.0 = USD 0.793/EUR 0.740)