Capital Power reports fourth quarter and year-end 2020 results
Excellent year highlighted by monumental progress in solar development and decision to be off coal in 2023
EDMONTON, Alberta – Capital Power Corporation (TSX: CPX) today released financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2020.
- Generated net cash flows from operating activities of $159 million and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) of $86 million in the fourth quarter of 2020
- Generated net income of $1 million and adjusted EBITDA of $220 million in the fourth quarter of 2020
- Announced decision to be off coal in 2023
- Full notice to proceed on the repowering of Genesee 1 and 2 that will add 560 megawatts when repowering is completed in 2023 and 2024
- Executed 20-year contracts for three new solar development projects in North Carolina
- Executed a 25-year power purchase agreement for Strathmore Solar project in Alberta
- Proceeding with the Enchant Solar project in Alberta with commercial operations targeted in back half of 2022
- Completed a $350 million, 12-year medium-term note issuance with a coupon rate of 3.147%
- Exercised option in the fourth quarter to increase the Company’s equity interest in C2CNT from 25% to 40% in 2021
- Announced that Donald Lowry will retire as Chair of the Board of Directors with Jill Gardiner appointed as successor Chair following the April 2021 Annual General Meeting (AGM)
“We made great strides on our decarbonization strategy in 2020,” said Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO of Capital Power. “We announced seven renewable projects, five of which are solar projects, confirming our competitive capability in solar and more than doubling our renewable opportunities in North America. We will also be repowering Genesee 1 and 2 utilizing best-in-class natural gas combined cycle technology that will transform these units into the most efficient natural gas facilities in Canada, accelerating our timeline to be off coal in 2023. Combined, we have committed nearly $1.7 billion, exceeding our $500 million committed capital growth target.”
“Our 2020 financial results were generally in line with our guidance,” continued Mr. Vaasjo. “We delivered solid adjusted EBITDA and AFFO in the fourth quarter, outside of a $15 million impact from deferring the utilization of our Alberta emission offset inventory from 2020 to later years after the confirmation of higher carbon pricing under Alberta’s TIER regulation. This has no impact on our December Investor Day guidance for 2021.”
|Operational and Financial Highlights 1
|Three months ended December 31||Year ended
|(millions of dollars except per share and operational amounts)||2020||2019||2020||2019|
|Electricity generation (Gigawatt hours)||6,445||6,437||23,806||24,527|
|Generation facility availability||97%||94%||95%||94%|
|Revenues and other income 3||$516||$683||$1,937||$1,963|
|Adjusted EBITDA 2, 3, 4||$220||$352||$955||$1,029|
|Net income 3, 4, 5||$1||$181||$130||$119|
|Net income attributable to shareholders of the Company 3, 4, 5||$3||$182||$136||$125|
|Basic (loss) earnings per share 3, 4, 5||$(0.09)||$1.61||$0.78||$0.73|
|Diluted (loss) earnings per share 3, 4, 5||$(0.09)||$1.60||$0.77||$0.72|
|Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders 2, 5||$13||$31||$128||$140|
|Normalized earnings per share 2, 5||$0.12||$0.29||$1.22||$1.34|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||$159||$201||$611||$720|
|Adjusted funds from operations 2||$86||$128||$522||$555|
|Adjusted funds from operations per share 2||$0.81||$1.22||$4.96||$5.32|
|Purchase of property, plant and equipment and other assets||$70||$112||$306||$635|
|Dividends per common share, declared||$0.5125||$0.4800||$1.9850||$1.8550|
- The operational and financial highlights in this press release should be read in conjunction with the Integrated Annual Report and the audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020.
- Earnings before net finance expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization, impairments, foreign exchange gains or losses, finance expense and depreciation expense from joint venture interests, gains or losses on disposals and unrealized changes in fair value of commodity derivatives and emissions credits (adjusted EBITDA), normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders, normalized earnings per share, AFFO and AFFO per share are non-GAAP financial measures and do not have standardized meanings under GAAP and are, therefore, unlikely to be comparable to similar measures used by other enterprises. See Non-GAAP Financial Measures.
- For the three months and year ended December 31, 2019, includes accelerated recognition of coal compensation of $128 million pertaining to the swap of interests in the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 facilities.
- For the three months and year ended December 31, 2020, includes a $2 million and $5 million increase, respectively, to the net Line Loss Rule Proceeding liability to reflect update information published by the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) (three months and year ended December 31, 2019 – $6 million increase to the net Line Loss Rule Proceeding liability to reflect the additional 50% interest in Genesee 3 and the divestiture of the Company’s interest in Keephills 3).
- Includes depreciation and amortization for the three months ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of $122 million and $118 million, respectively, and for the year ended December 31, 2020 and 2019 of $478 million (including the $3 million related to the termination of East Windsor steam contract) and $473 million, respectively. Budgeted depreciation and amortization for 2021 is $141 million, $137 million, $137 million, and $138 million for the first through fourth quarters, respectively.
Repowering of Genesee 1 and 2
In December 2020, the Company announced that, subject to successful permitting and regulatory approvals, it is proceeding with the repowering of Genesee 1 and 2 located in Warburg, Alberta. The two repowered best-in-class natural gas combined cycle units will provide an additional 560 MW of net capacity totaling 1,360 MW with an expected capital cost of $997 million. The project is expected to contribute average annual adjusted AFFO of approximately $0.70 per share in the first five years. As a result of this announcement, the Company has decided to no longer pursue the Genesee 1 and 2 dual fuel project. The Company has recorded an impairment of $13 million of capital expenditures related to the termination of this project.
C2CNT investment and Genesee Carbon Conversion Centre
During 2020, the Company increased its equity interest in C2CNT, a technology company developing a proprietary solution to transform carbon into carbon nanotubes, from 5% to 25% for $14 million (US$10 million). In December 2020, the Company exercised its option to increase its equity interest in C2CNT from 25% to 40% for $13 million (US$10 million), with the additional investment to occur during the first quarter of 2021. The design phase of the Genesee Carbon Conversion Centre is underway and commercial operations of the 2,500 tonne carbon nanotube facility are expected in the first half of 2022.
Enchant Solar project proceeding
In November 2020, the Company announced that, subject to successful permitting and regulatory approvals, it is moving forward with the Enchant Solar project, within the municipal district of Taber, Alberta, which will add 75 MW in the back half of 2022 at an expected capital cost in the range of $100 million to $105 million.
Enchant Solar will generate carbon credits that can be used to economically hedge against Capital Power’s carbon compliance costs from its Alberta thermal generation facilities. The Company expects a portion of the output from Enchant Solar to be sold under renewable offtake contracts and is actively pursuing contracting opportunities. The Company expects average annual adjusted EBITDA and AFFO to be approximately $11 million and $12 million, respectively, over the first five years of the project.
Executed 20-year contracts for three new solar development projects in North Carolina
In October 2020, the Company executed 20-year power purchase agreements with Duke Energy Carolinas for three solar development projects located in North Carolina totaling 160 MW. The solar projects consist of Hornet Solar (75 MW), Hunter’s Cove Solar (50 MW), and Bear Branch Solar (35 MW) (collectively, the “solar projects”). Construction of the solar projects is expected to begin in late 2021 or early 2022 with commercial operations expected in the fourth quarter of 2022 and with expected capital costs of $118 million (US$90 million), $82 million (US$62 million) and $60 million (US$46 million) for the three projects, respectively. Capital Power expects to finance the solar projects using debt and tax equity.
With their 20-year contract terms, the North Carolina solar projects will strengthen our contracted cash flows while increasing the average remaining contract life of our contracted assets. The investment is expected to meet Capital Power’s after-tax hurdle rate with the average accretion expected to be neutral to AFFO in the first five years. The solar projects are expected to generate approximately $23 million (US$17 million) of adjusted EBITDA and $5 million (US$4 million) of AFFO annually on average in the first five years.
$350 million medium-term note offering and early redemption of $251 million medium-term notes
On October 1, 2020, the Company closed a public offering of unsecured medium-term notes in the aggregate principal amount of $350 million (the Offering). The notes have a coupon rate of 3.147% and mature on October 1, 2032. The net proceeds of the Offering have been and will be used to repay, redeem or refinance existing indebtedness, including indebtedness under outstanding debt securities or credit facilities, or for general corporate purposes. Included in such repayments is the redemption, on October 9, 2020, of all of the Company’s outstanding 5.276% medium-term notes, due November 16, 2020, in the aggregate principal amount of $251 million. The redemption price was an aggregate amount of $258 million, including applicable early redemption premiums, as well as accrued and unpaid interest to and including the day immediately preceding the redemption date.
Wind facility long-term service agreement extensions and Whitla Wind 2 and 3 turbine supply
In late April 2020, the Company signed agreements with Vestas setting the terms for 10-year long-term service agreement (LTSA) extensions for the maintenance of nine of the Company’s wind facilities and the supply of turbines for the Whitla Wind 2 and 3 projects.
The agreement for the 10-year extension on the series of LTSAs with Vestas covers a wider scope of services for all our Vestas-equipped wind facilities while reducing costs by an estimated 26% compared to current service and maintenance agreements. The new LTSAs were executed in October 2020 and will take effect between 2021 and 2023. The Company expects to realize ongoing annual savings on the Company’s wind facilities covered under these LTSAs, which would increase adjusted EBITDA and AFFO by approximately $8 million and $6 million per year, respectively. Additionally, the LTSA extensions include provisions intended to identify and encourage potential indigenous training, employment and economic opportunities at Canadian facilities.
Extension of Decatur Energy tolling agreement
In August 2020, the Company executed a 10-year tolling agreement extension through December 2032 for Decatur Energy with the current counterparty. Decatur Energy is a natural gas-fired combined cycle facility located in Decatur, Alabama that began commercial operations in 2002. Decatur Energy sells capacity and energy to a regional entity with an A-rated credit rating under a tolling agreement with an original term of 10 years that was to expire in December 2022.
Since the acquisition in June 2017, Capital Power has been upgrading Decatur Energy’s combustion turbines to increase capacity, improve the facility’s heat rate and fuel efficiency and maintain reliability. To date, two of three combustion turbines have been upgraded adding approximately 60 MW of additional capacity. The third combustion turbine is expected to be upgraded in 2021 adding approximately 30 MW.
Under the terms of the extension, Decatur Energy began to receive payments for 34 MW of additional capacity upon signing of the extension and an additional 72 MW upon execution of the updated interconnection agreement in September 2020. As a result, adjusted EBITDA is expected to increase by $11 million (US$8 million) in 2021 and $27 million (US$20 million) in 2022. In 2023, the first year of the additional 10-year term, adjusted EBITDA is expected to be $73 million (US$54 million) per year and then decline by approximately 4% on average per annum over the term.
Strathmore Solar project proceeding and 25-year contract executed
On July 30, 2020, the Company announced that, subject to successful permitting and regulatory approvals, it is moving forward with the Strathmore Solar project, in Strathmore Alberta, which will add 40.5 MW in early 2022. This will be the Company’s first solar project in Canada and has an expected capital cost in the range of $50 million to $55 million.
In November 2020, the Company received permitting and regulatory approvals and executed a fixed price, 25-year offtake agreement for all of the energy and renewable energy credits generated by the project. The Company expects average annual adjusted EBITDA and AFFO to be approximately $5 million and $5 million, respectively, over the first five years of the project.
On July 30, 2020, Capital Power and the Board of Directors announced the following executive position appointments:
- Kate Chisholm, Senior Vice President Planning and Stakeholder Relations and Chief Sustainability Officer,
- Bryan DeNeve, Senior Vice President Business Development and Commercial Services,
- Sandra Haskins, Senior Vice President Finance and Chief Financial Officer,
- Chris Kopecky, Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, and
- Jacquie Pylypiuk, Senior Vice President People, Culture and Technology.
Darcy Trufyn continues to serve as the Senior Vice President Operations, Engineering and Construction. Mark Zimmerman, who previously served as the Senior Vice President, Corporate Development and Commercial Services, stepped down from his role effective July 30, 2020.
Reinstatement of Dividend Reinvestment Plan
On July 30, 2020, the Company reinstated its Dividend Reinvestment Plan (the Plan), which was previously suspended on June 30, 2015 (the suspension). Commencing with the Company’s third quarter 2020 cash dividend, eligible shareholders may elect to participate in the Plan. The reinstated Plan will provide eligible shareholders with an alternative to receiving their quarterly cash dividends. Under the Plan, eligible shareholders may elect to efficiently and cost-effectively accumulate additional shares in the Company by reinvesting their quarterly cash dividends on the applicable dividend payment date in new shares issued from treasury. The new shares will be issued at a discount of 3% to the average closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange for the 10 trading days immediately preceding the applicable Dividend Payment Date. Participation in the Plan is optional. Shareholders who do not enroll in the Plan will still be entitled to receive their quarterly cash dividends. Shareholders that were enrolled in the Plan upon suspension, and remained enrolled with the Plan administrator, automatically resumed participation in the Plan.
On July 29, 2020, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an increase of 6.8% in the annual dividend for holders of its common shares, from $1.92 per common share to $2.05 per common share. This increased common share dividend commenced with the third quarter 2020 quarterly dividend payment on October 30, 2020 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 30, 2020.
Whitla Wind 3 project proceeding
In June 2020, the Company announced that, subject to successful permitting and receipt of regulatory approvals, it is moving forward with the third phase of the Whitla Wind facility which will add 54 MW in late 2021. Capital Power will leverage its construction experience from Whitla Wind 1, to deliver Whitla Wind 3 with an expected capital cost of $92 million.
Whitla Wind 3 will generate carbon credits that can be used to economically hedge against Capital Power’s carbon compliance costs from its Alberta thermal generation facilities. Construction of Whitla Wind 3 will occur concurrently with Whitla Wind 2 construction. The Company is in active discussions with commercial and industrial customers for renewable offtake contracts for Whitla Wind 2 and 3.
Acquisition of Buckthorn Wind
On April 1, 2020, the Company acquired a 100% ownership interest in Buckthorn Wind, a 101 MW wind facility, from co-sellers John Laing Investments and Clearway Renew LLC, a subsidiary of Clearway Energy Group LLC. The purchase price consisted of (i) $84 million (US$60 million) in total cash consideration, including working capital and other closing adjustments, (ii) the assumption of tax equity financing of $103 million (US$73 million) and (iii) contingent consideration valued at nil. Contingent consideration, to a maximum of US$8 million, would become payable in the future if certain market outcomes lead to Buckthorn Wind exceeding agreed upon thresholds. At this time, the Company considers the likelihood of contingent consideration payment to be low, resulting in no value being ascribed to the contingent consideration in the purchase price allocation.
Buckthorn Wind is located in Erath County, approximately 60 miles south of Dallas, Texas and began commercial operations in January 2018. It operates in the liquid Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) North region between most of the wind generation in ERCOT-West and the Dallas load center. The ERCOT North region has strong fundamentals with a high likelihood of baseload generation retirements and is one of the fastest growing regions in the United States.
Buckthorn Wind has a 15-year weighted average contract life remaining with two offtake arrangements, including one with JPMorgan Chase Bank involving a 20-year contract for differences (CfD) for 55% of the generation output, and a 13-year financial hedge for the remaining 45% of the output. The long-term contracts strengthen the Company’s contracted cash flow profile while expanding our renewables portfolio.
Buckthorn Wind has a tax equity investor (TEI) where the TEI receives a significant portion of the cash flows prior to the date on which the TEI reaches the agreed upon target rate of return (the flip date). The flip date is expected to occur in the late 2020s. Prior to the flip date, the Company expects average annual adjusted EBITDA and AFFO to be approximately $18 million (US$14 million) and $1 million (US$1 million), respectively. After the flip date during the CfD, the average annual adjusted EBITDA and AFFO are expected to be approximately $9 million (US$8 million) and $6 million (US$5 million), respectively.
Cardinal Point Wind begins commercial operations
On March 16, 2020, Cardinal Point Wind, a 150 MW facility in the McDonough and Warren Counties, Illinois, began commercial operations. Subsequently, the Company received approximately $221 million (US$157 million) in tax equity financing on March 26, 2020, net of issue costs of $3 million (US$2 million) associated with the financing, from two U.S. financial institutions in exchange for Class A interests of a subsidiary of the Company. The construction of the facility was completed on-schedule and the project’s final costs of $312 million (US$235 million) were near the low end of the projected total cost range in Cardinal Point’s U.S. dollar functional currency of US$236 million to US$246 million.
Capital Power will operate Cardinal Point Wind under a 12-year fixed price contract with an investment grade U.S. financial institution covering 85% of the facility’s output. The expected adjusted EBITDA and AFFO in the first full year of operations are $56 million (US$40 million) and $6 million (US$4 million), respectively.
Discontinuation of the Genesee 4 and 5 project
During the first quarter of 2020, the Company and its partner on the Genesee 4 and 5 project determined that they would no longer be pursuing the project. Arbitration has commenced between the Company and its partner around the costs of exiting the series of agreements previously entered into. As a result of the decision to no longer pursue the project, the Company has determined that $13 million of capital expenditures incurred by the Company were purely related to the development of Genesee 4 and 5. The Company therefore recorded an impairment on these capital costs during the first quarter of 2020.
Board of Directors Chair transition and Director appointment
On February 19, 2021 the Company announced that after 12 successful years as Chair of the Board, and after reaching his term limit, Donald Lowry would retire from the Board at the 2021 AGM. The Company also announced that the Board has appointed Jill Gardiner as successor Chair, effective immediately following the AGM and subject to Ms. Gardiner being re-elected by the shareholders. Capital Power would like to express its gratitude to Mr. Lowry for his significant contributions and leadership and is looking forward to working with Ms. Gardiner.
The Company also announced that the Board has appointed Barry Perry to the Board effective March 1, 2021. Mr. Perry will stand for election at the 2021 AGM.
Analyst conference call and webcast
Capital Power will be hosting a conference call and live webcast with analysts on February 19, 2021 at 9:00 am (MT) to discuss the fourth quarter financial results. The conference call dial-in number is:
(800) 319-4610 (toll-free from Canada and USA)
Interested parties may also access the live webcast on the Company’s website at www.capitalpower.com with an archive of the webcast available following the conclusion of the analyst conference call.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
The Company uses (i) adjusted EBITDA, (ii) AFFO, (iii) AFFO per share, (iv) normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders, and (v) normalized earnings per share as financial performance measures.
These terms are not defined financial measures according to GAAP and do not have standardized meanings prescribed by GAAP and, therefore, are unlikely to be comparable to similar measures used by other enterprises. These measures should not be considered alternatives to net income, net income attributable to shareholders of the Company, net cash flows from operating activities or other measures of financial performance calculated in accordance with GAAP. Rather, these measures are provided to complement GAAP measures in the analysis of the Company’s results of operations from management’s perspective.
Forward-looking information or statements included in this press release are provided to inform the Company’s shareholders and potential investors about management’s assessment of Capital Power’s future plans and operations. This information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The forward-looking information in this press release is generally identified by words such as will, anticipate, believe, plan, intend, target, and expect or similar words that suggest future outcomes.
Material forward-looking information in this press release includes disclosures regarding (i) the expected timing of the Company being off coal, (ii) the change in the Company’s Alberta emission compliance strategy for its 2020 obligation settlement in 2021, (iii) maintaining previous guidance for 2021 targets, (iv) budgeted 2021 depreciation and amortization, (v) the timing, funding, costs of, and financial impacts (including impacts to adjusted EBITDA and AFFO) related to, existing, planned and potential development projects and acquisitions (including the repowering of Genesee 1 and 2, phases 2 and 3 of Whitla Wind, Buckthorn Wind, Cardinal Point Wind, Strathmore Solar, Bear Branch Solar, Hornet Solar, Hunter’s Cove Solar and Enchant Solar (see Significant Events)), (vi) the expected timing of commercial operations of the proposed Genesee Carbon Conversion Centre, (vii) expectations around the Vestas agreements including cost reductions and impacts on adjusted EBITDA and AFFO, (viii) the timing of completion of the Decatur Energy combustion turbine upgrades and expected adjusted EBITDA impacts of the extension of the Decatur Energy tolling agreement, (ix) expectations around the likelihood of meeting the threshold and paying out contingent consideration related to Buckthorn Wind, (x) the expected timing of when the Buckthorn Wind tax equity investor reaches the agreed upon target rate of return and (xi) matters relating to the LLR Proceeding, including the recovery from appropriate parties.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company considering its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate including its review of purchased businesses and assets. The material factors and assumptions used to develop these forward-looking statements relate to: (i) electricity, other energy and carbon prices, (ii) performance, (iii) business prospects (including potential re-contracting of facilities) and opportunities including expected growth and capital projects, (iv) status of and impact of policy, legislation and regulations, (v) effective tax rates, (vi) the development and performance of technology, (vii) foreign exchange rates and (viii) matters relating to the LLR Proceeding, including the recovery of payments from appropriate parties.
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) changes in electricity, natural gas and carbon prices in markets in which the Company operates and the use of derivatives, (ii) regulatory and political environments including changes to environmental, climate, financial reporting, market structure and tax legislation, (iii) generation facility availability, wind capacity factor and performance including maintenance expenditures, (iv) ability to fund current and future capital and working capital needs, (v) acquisitions and developments including timing and costs of regulatory approvals and construction, (vi) changes in the availability of fuel, (vii) ability to realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions, (viii) limitations inherent in the Company’s review of acquired assets, (ix) changes in general economic and competitive conditions and (x) changes in the performance and cost of technologies and the development of new technologies, new energy efficient products, services and programs. See Risks and Risk Management in the Company’s Integrated Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2020, prepared as of February 18, 2021, 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.
Full 2020 Integrated Annual Report (including Business Report and Consolidated Financial Statements)
About Capital Power
Capital Power (TSX: CPX) is a growth-oriented North American wholesale power producer with a strategic focus on sustainable energy headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. We build, own, and operate high-quality, utility-scale generation facilities that include renewables and thermal. We have also made significant investments in carbon capture and utilization to reduce carbon impacts and are committed to be off coal in 2023. Capital Power owns over 6,500 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity at 28 facilities across North America with approximately 425 MW of owned renewable generation capacity and 560 MW of incremental natural gas combined cycle capacity, from the repowering of Genesee 1 and 2, in advanced development in Alberta and North Carolina.