Bennett Jones acted for Canadian Utilities Limited, an ATCO company and its subsidiaries, in their landmark partnership agreement with the Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations in respect of the 37-megawatt Deerfoot and 27-megawatt Barlow solar power projects, the largest solar installation in an urban centre in Western Canada.
This project is another milestone for Bennett Jones' best-in-class energy infrastructure and finance practice. It entails the industry-shaping trends of meaningful industry-Indigenous equity partnerships and continuing growth in Alberta's energy diversification and renewable power sector.
Under the terms of this complex restructuring and co-ownership agreement, the Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations have become the majority owners with a 51 percent ownership stake in the facilities. Canadian Utilities Limited, will indirectly maintain a 49 percent stake.
The transaction includes a $78.8 million investment by the Canada Infrastructure Bank through its Indigenous Community Infrastructure Initiative—its first clean power investment to reach financial close in Alberta—as well as $13 million in funding from Natural Resources Canada under its Smart Renewables and Electrification Pathways Program.
The Chiniki and Goodstoney First Nations majority ownership of the projects is expected to generate economic returns for the Indigenous communities and contribute to the lasting prosperity of the Nations for future generations. The Bennett Jones team was led by Denise Bright (financing and security) and Luke Morrison (commercial/co-ownership)—and included Will Osler, Megan Ollivier, Allegra Hessels, Sydney Olsen, and Rebecca Taylor (corporate/commercial); Anu Nijhawan and Brendan Sigalet (tax); Luke Stretch (financing and security); and Alixe Cameron and Michael Ramsay (real estate).
More details on the partnership are available in ATCO's news release.
Axxcelus Capital Advisory acted as advisor to the Chiniki and Goodstoney Nations.