Vancouver, BC---June 1, 2009--- GE Energy Financial Services
announced today it has signed an agreement with EarthFirst Canada Inc.
(TSX: EF, EF.WT) to consider purchasing the up to 300-megawatt Dokie
Ridge Wind Project, the largest wind farm project under construction in
British Columbia. Subject to satisfaction of conditions, including due
diligence and internal approvals, GE Energy Financial Services has
agreed to form a partnership with Plutonic Power Corporation (TSX: PCC)
which, provided the acquisition is completed, will own and operate the
project, located 1,100 kilometres northeast of Vancouver, near Chetwynd.
The project would represent GE Energy Financial Services' and Plutonic's
first wind energy investment in Canada and an expansion of their
relationship from hydroelectric power development into wind energy.
The Dokie Project consists of the fully permitted and partially built
144-megawatt Dokie Phase 1 project using Vestas 3-megawatt V-90
turbines, together with the rights to expand the project to 300
megawatts. As partners, GE and Plutonic would jointly provide equity and
seek project debt to complete construction. Financial details,
including the expected capital costs of the project and the amount of
the equity and debt required, have not yet been finalized.
EarthFirst has reported that the Dokie Phase 1 Project, once completed,
would generate 340 gigawatt-hours annually; enough electricity to meet
the annual needs of 34,000 homes and avoid more than 229,000 tonnes of
carbon dioxide emissions from a coal plant or the equivalent of taking
44,000 cars off the road.
EarthFirst had previously obtained court-ordered protection from its
creditors under Canada's Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act, and the
Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta, Judicial Centre of Calgary on Friday
May 29, 2009 approved the proposed transactions involving the project.
Receipt of court approval of the agreement does not ensure that
conditions will be removed and that the proposed acquisition will be
completed. Provided that certain conditions are satisfied or waived by
July 6, GE Energy Financial Services and Plutonic plan to complete the
acquisition of the Dokie assets within a further 45-day period.
Satisfaction or waiver of conditions to closing include but are not
limited to consent of First Nations and other material stakeholders,
assignments of material permits and contracts and receipt of regulatory
approvals. Subject to financial close, the partners anticipate resuming
construction of the project this fall and completion in late 2010.
If the transaction is completed, the Dokie Project would expand GE's
more than US$4 billion portfolio of renewable energy investments
worldwide and support the company's ecomagination initiative to help
customers meet their environmental challenges. If completed, the
acquisition would provide Plutonic with a near-term operating asset and a
second platform for growth in wind energy. Plutonic has capitalized on
its relationship with GE Energy Financial Services to grow its
portfolio of utility-scale renewable energy projects.
In addition to the Dokie Project, GE Energy Financial Services and
Plutonic are partnering on three hydroelectric projects in British
Columbia: the 196-megawatt East Toba River Montrose Creek project -
under construction since July 2007 - and have jointly bid the
166-megawatt Upper Toba Valley Project and the 1027-megawatt Bute
Project into BC Hydro's 2008 Call for Power issued in November 2008.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services' experts invest globally with a long-term
view, backed by the best of GE's technical know-how, financial strength
and rigorous risk management, across the capital spectrum, in one of the
world's most capital-intensive industries, energy. GE Energy Financial
Services helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong
partnerships and optimization of its more than US$22 billion in assets.
In renewable energy, GE Energy Financial Services is growing its
portfolio of more than US$4 billion in assets in wind, solar, biomass,
hydro and geothermal power. GE Energy Financial Services is based in
Stamford, Connecticut. For more information, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.
GE (NYSE: GE) is a diversified global infrastructure, finance and media
company that is built to meet essential world needs. From energy, water,
transportation and health to access to money and information, GE serves
customers in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000
people worldwide. For more information, visit the company's Web site at http://www.ge.com. GE is Imagination at Work.
About Plutonic Power Corporation
Plutonic Power's vision is to provide leadership and create a legacy
through the development of renewable, reliable, clean energy. Its
proposed Green Power Corridor(tm), comprised of 40 locations, not
including the flagship $660 million, 196 MW East Toba River and Montrose
Creek run-of-river hydro-electric project currently under construction,
have the design capacity to generate enough energy to meet the annual
needs of about 586,000 homes and create approximately 5,900 person years
of employment. Once built, the Green Power Corridor(tm) could offset
almost 4 million tons of CO2 emissions every year - the equivalent to
taking as many as 760,000 vehicles off the road. Plutonic Power is
committed to working in partnership with First Nations, stakeholder
groups and local communities in the development of all of its
run-of-river projects. By developing its suite of projects, Plutonic
Power will help British Columbia realize its goals of becoming
electricity self-sufficient by 2016, utilizing 90% clean domestic
generation sources will create employment opportunities and will play a
significant role in the fight against climate change.
GE Energy Financial Services
Office: 604-669-4999 ext 1034