"Green" power producers get election lift

Tue May 19, 2009 2:59pm EDT
 
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By Susan Taylor

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian green energy companies are shaping up as winners after British Columbia's Liberals kept their hold on power in the Pacific province and upped the odds that clean energy projects would go ahead.

Shares in upstart energy producers like Plutonic Power Corp rose steeply after the May 12 election on the belief that a provincial call for clean power projects will proceed.

After a campaign marked by divisions on energy and environmental policy, voters reelected the Liberals, who favor independent power production. The rival New Democratic Party had called for a moratorium on private energy projects.

Shares in Vancouver, B.C.-based Plutonic surged as much as 21 percent the day after the election as uncertainty eased about projects they have on the table, said chief executive Donald McInnes in an interview. "I was euphoric and relieved."

Plutonic and its financial backer General Electric have submitted two joint bids, including a massive C$4 billion, 1027-megawatt project that includes 17 run-of-river hydro projects on Bute Inlet streams. The bids have turned Plutonic into the poster child for the power production debate.

"There's been a pervasive, overwhelming nervousness in the investment community about political stability in British Columbia with respect to the government and how the election outcome would affect our industry," said McInnes.

"There has been many institutions that said, look, just get through the election. I would rather buy your stock at a higher price but knowing the outcome."

FLOODED BY BIDS   Continued...