Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners to acquire 9 Maine dams

Brookfield Asset Management CEO Bruce Flatt listens to other speakers during the annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto last year.
BRETT GUNDLOCK | REUTERS
Brookfield Asset Management CEO Bruce Flatt listens to other speakers during the annual general meeting for shareholders in Toronto last year.
Posted Nov. 04, 2013, at 2:32 p.m.

Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners on Friday said it will acquire nine hydroelectric dams in Maine, bringing the total number of dams it operates in the state to 38.

The company, which is managed by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management, the majority owner, is acquiring the nine dams from Black Bear Hydro Partners, a subsidiary of Boston-based ArcLight Capital Partners, according to a news release. The dams, which have an operating capacity of 70 megawatts, are on the Penobscot, Androscoggin and Union rivers. A purchase price was not disclosed.

Messages left with Scott Hall, Black Bear Hydro’s spokesman, and Zev Korman, Brookfield’s spokesman, were not returned on Monday afternoon.

Brookfield has scooped up several dams in Maine in the past year. It acquired 19 dams in December 2012 from NextEra Energy Resources, which brought the number of dams it operates in Maine to 29 and its total generating capacity to 270 megawatts.

The nine new dams will bring the total to 38 and increase its capacity to 340 megawatts. The total generating capacity for all Maine hydroelectric facilities is roughly 762 megawatts, according to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

“This will be the first time in a long time that one company has owned as much of the hydro in Maine as Brookfield will,” Jeffrey Thaler, assistant university counsel and a visiting professor of energy law and policy at the University of Maine, told the Bangor Daily News on Monday. “It shows their commitment to hydropower in Maine.”

Sixty percent of the nine new dams’ output is sold into the New England wholesale power market, with the rest sold under long-term contracts to local utilities. All have licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, most of which are valid through at least 2029, the release said.

In the same announcement, Brookfield said it will acquire a hydroelectric facility in California.

“These hydroelectric facilities are highly complementary to our existing portfolio in North America,” Richard Legault, Brookfield Renewable’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We continue to add high quality assets in this low-price environment, which provide an attractive combination of stable, contracted revenues and strong prospects for long-term cash flow growth. Moreover, we are pleased to continue to invest in Maine and California, both important markets for us. Our knowledge of hydro and our operating expertise in these markets give us confidence in the long-term value creation potential of this portfolio.”

The transactions are subject to regulatory approvals and are expected to close before the end of 2013.

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