Dual-fuel optionality expected to significantly increase cash flow and further reduce emissions
EDMONTON, Alberta – Capital Power Corporation (Capital Power or the Company) (TSX: CPX) announced today that it is proceeding with a project that will maximize the flexibility to utilize natural gas as fuel at the Genesee Generating Station (Genesee), which previously burned primarily coal.
“Having the dual-fuel flexibility at Genesee allows us to optimize the fuel mix to maximize economic returns,” said Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO of Capital Power. “The financial impact is highly dependant on carbon cost and natural gas price assumptions and is estimated to increase adjusted funds from operations by approximately $10 million in 2020 and $20 million in 2021. Expanding the use of natural gas will also result in significantly lower absolute emissions relative to the current configurations of the units, demonstrating Capital Power’s continued commitment to implementing innovative approaches to improving the emissions performance of our thermal operations.”
The Genesee facility is located in Warburg Alberta and has three units with 860 megawatts (MW) of combined capacity from units 1 and 2 and 516 MW of capacity from unit 3 (50% ownership with TransAlta Corporation). The Genesee units are the most efficient and lowest cost coal units in Alberta and have consistently demonstrated superior levels of availability and reliability.
The total cost of the project to completely transform Genesee 1 and 2 to dual-fuel capability and up to 40% gas capability for Genesee 3 is estimated at $50 million with expenditures of $18 million, $19 million, and $13 million in 2019 to 2021, respectively. The project involves adding new gas pipeline infrastructure within the Genesee site and modifications to the Genesee 1 and 2 boilers. The rated capacity of the units will remain the same.
Subject to receipt of requisite regulatory approvals, and joint venture owner approvals for Genesee 3, the transformation of the units to 100% dual-fuel will occur during regular scheduled maintenance outages with the timing and maximum natural gas utilization outlined below.
|Current||Mid-2020||Third quarter, 2020||Spring 2021||To be determined|
|Genesee 2||Utilize up to 20% gas||100% dual-fuel||–||–||–|
|Genesee 1||Utilize up to 20% gas||Up to 45% gas||Up to 45% gas||100% dual-fuel||–|
|Genesee 3||Utilize up to 18% gas||Up to 34% gas||Up to 40% gas||Up to 40% gas||100% dual-fuel|
After the units have been transformed to 100% dual-fuel capability, the units can utilize up to 100% natural gas or coal, or a mix of the two. The amount of coal used at any given time, versus natural gas, will be driven by several factors including natural gas prices, carbon costs, and coal costs.
Based on Genesee 1 and 2 at 100% dual-fuel capability and Genesee 3 at 40% natural gas capability, annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are expected to be reduced by approximately 20 to 33%, assuming operation of the units are between 50 to 100% of hours on natural gas compared to operating on coal only. This would increase annual natural gas demand in Alberta by 45 million to 85 million gigajoules.
The coal operations at the Genesee facility are currently planned to continue up to December 2029, at which time regulatory requirements will require the Company to discontinue the use of coal. The Genesee facility will continue as a 100% natural gas-fired facility after that time. The Genesee units are already the most efficient coal generating units in Alberta and best performing from an emissions intensity perspective. Under the Genesee Performance Standard program, which commenced in 2016, a 10% improvement in efficiency and performance of the units is targeted by 2021, which improvements will benefit either natural gas or coal operations.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
The Company uses AFFO as a financial performance measure of the ability of the Company and its subsidiaries ability to generate cash from current operating activities to fund growth capital expenditures, debt repayments and common share dividends to the Company’s shareholders. The AFFO performance measure represents net cash flows from operating activities adjusted to include net finance expense and current income tax expense and exclude changes in operating working capital and distributions received from the Company’s joint venture interests. Net finance expense and current income tax expense are included as the timing of cash receipts and payments of interest and income taxes and the resulting cash basis amounts are not comparable from period to period. Changes in operating working capital are excluded from AFFO as the timing of cash receipts and payments also affects the period-to-period comparability. Distributions received from the Company’s joint venture interests are excluded as the distributions are calculated after the effect of joint venture debt payments, which are not considered operating activities. AFFO is reduced by the tax equity financing project investors’ shares of AFFO associated with assets under tax equity financing structures to ensure that only the Company’s share is reflected in the overall metric. AFFO also excludes the impact of fair value changes in certain unsettled derivative financial instruments that are charged or credited to the Company’s bank margin account held with a specific exchange counterparty. AFFO is reduced by sustaining capital expenditures and preferred share dividends and adjusted to include the Company’s share of the AFFO of its joint venture interests and cash from coal compensation that will be received annually.
AFFO is not a defined financial measure according to GAAP and does not have a standardized meaning prescribed by GAAP and, therefore, is unlikely to be comparable to similar measures used by other enterprises. AFFO should not be considered as an alternative to net cash flows from operating activities calculated in accordance with GAAP. Rather, this measure is provided to complement the nearest GAAP measure in the analysis of the Company’s results of operations from management’s perspective.
See Non-GAAP measures in the Company’s first quarter 2019, and year-end 2018 Management’s Discussion and Analysis for further discussion of this metric and reconciliation of AFFO to net cash flows from operating activities.
Certain information in this news release is forward-looking information within the meaning of Canadian securities laws as it relates to anticipated financial or operating performance, events or strategies. When used in this context, words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “continue”, “estimate”, “plan”, “intend”, “expect”, “target” and “will” or similar words suggest future outcomes. By their nature, such statements are subject to significant risks, assumptions and uncertainties, which could cause the Company’s actual results and experience to be materially different than the anticipated results. Forward-looking information or statements included in this news release are provided to inform the Company’s shareholders and potential investors about management’s assessment of the Company’s future plans and operations. This information may not be appropriate for other purposes.
Material forward-looking information in this press release includes expectations regarding: (i) financial impacts relating to increases in AFFO, (ii) reductions in GHG emissions, and (iii) Genesee coal operations continuing until December 2029.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments, and other factors it believes are appropriate. The material factors and assumptions used to develop these forward-looking statements relate to: (i) electricity and other energy prices; (ii) Company performance; (iii) business prospects and opportunities including expected growth and capital projects; (iv) the status of and impact of policy, legislation and regulations; and (v) effective tax rates.
Whether actual results, performance or achievements will conform to the Company’s expectations and predictions is subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the Company’s expectations. Such material risks and uncertainties are: (i) power plant availability and performance including maintenance expenditures; (ii) changes in electricity prices in markets in which the Company operates; (iii) regulatory and political environments including changes to environmental, financial reporting and tax legislation; (iv) acquisitions and developments including timing and costs of regulatory approvals and construction; (v) ability to fund current and future capital and working capital needs; (vi) changes in energy commodity market prices and use of derivatives; (vii) changes in market prices and availability of fuel; (viii) changes in general economic and competitive conditions; and (ix) the outcome of the line loss rule proceeding. See Risks and Risk Management in the Company’s 2018 Management’s Discussion and Analysis for further discussion of these and other risks.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the specified approval date. The Company does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, except as required by law.
About Capital Power
Capital Power (TSX: CPX) is a growth-oriented North American power producer headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. The company develops, acquires, owns, and operates power generation facilities using a variety of energy sources. Capital Power owns nearly 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity at 26 facilities across North America. Approximately 900 MW of owned generation capacity is in advanced development in Alberta and Illinois.