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GE Energy Finance Unit May Expand B.C. Wind Farm

General Electric Co.’s energy finance unit said it may double the capacity of a wind farm in British Columbia, increasing its bet on renewable-power in Canada’s westernmost province.

GE and Vancouver-based Plutonic Power Corp. last year bought the unfinished, 144-megawatt Dokie Ridge Wind Project, the first equity investment in wind energy in Canada for both companies.

“British Columbia has tremendous natural resources that are ideal for large-scale renewable energy projects,” Alex Urquhart, who runs the energy financial services unit, a division of Fairfield, Connecticut-based General Electric’s GE Capital division, said in a statement today.

GE and Plutonic are considering expanding Dokie to 300 megawatts, the companies said. Whether the expansion and other renewable developments will get built depends, in part, on government policies and incentives.

“Capital will move to where the returns make the most sense,” Urquhart, who globally oversees about $23 billion in energy investments, said today in an interview.
The first phase of Dokie should be operational next year and provide enough electricity to power 34,000 homes annually, the companies said.

Plutonic and GE Energy Financial Services also are building a C$660 million ($628 million) run-of-river hydro-electric project on glacier-fed streams about 190 kilometers (118 miles) northwest of Vancouver. The 196-megawatt East Toba River- Montrose development is slated to be completed this year.

Dokie’s phase one and the Toba-Montrose project are being developed with financial aid from the government of Canada’s ecoEnergy program, the companies said in the statement.

So-called run-of-river power projects rely on water diverted from rivers that’s returned to its normal course after spinning turbines.