Canadian Hydro to acquire Ont offshore wind facility, will be world's largest

CALGARY - Even as it juggles multiple takeover offers, green energy producer Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. (TSX: KHD) announced plans Monday to acquire what it says will be the largest offshore wind operation in the world.

CALGARY - Even as it juggles multiple takeover offers, green energy producer Canadian Hydro Developers Inc. (TSX: KHD) announced plans Monday to acquire what it says will be the largest offshore wind operation in the world.

The 4,000-megawatt offshore wind prospect in Ontario will be acquired from U.S-based Wasatch Wind Inc. Financial details weren't disclosed.

When complete it will be able to supply enough renewable energy to power over two million homes.

Canadian Hydro anticipates the prospect will be built in stages with the first phase coming online by the fourth quarter of 2014.

"This is a tremendous growth opportunity for our company and our shareholders, and a perfect fit with our long-term strategy and position as a market leader in Canada," said Kent Brown, Canadian Hydro's chief executive officer.

"We are eager to pioneer offshore wind in Ontario and North America."

Canadian Hydro has been fending off a $654-million hostile takeover offer from Calgary-based power generator TransAlta Corp. (TSX:TA), which has been extended several times since it was first made in July.

Canadian Hydro has said it is entertaining multiple alternative offers which emerged weeks after it opened its data room to potential buyers. It has not identified the potential white knight suitors.

Established in 1989, Canadian Hydro owns and operates 21 hydro, wind, gas fired and other generation plants across the country.

Wasatch Wind is a Utah-based wind project developer with activities throughout the western U.S. and Ontario. The company developed the first commercial wind farm in Utah, a large state in the U.S. rocky mountain region, and hopes to expand projects in that state, Wyoming and Nevada.

Wasatch Wind's Canadian division is based in Windsor, a border city in southwestern Ontario.

The Utah company sells taller wind turbine towers, licensing rights, and crane-less installation systems that provides for the installation of modular, economically transportable towers for projects that would be difficult using conventional tubular towers and cranes.

The wind prospect to be acquired is located between five to 30 kilometres offshore in one of the Great Lakes bordering Ontario, although Canadian Hydro didn't identify the lake.

Multiple regulatory and environmental approvals will be required from the Ministry of Natural Resources before construction can proceed.

Canadian Hydro shares fell five cents to $5.10 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange Monday - well above TransAlta's offer price, suggesting investors expect a better offer to come along.

TransAlta shares rose 23 cents to $21.74.