AES Expands Northern Ireland Operational Capacity to 1,868 MW With £99m Acquisition

US-based AES Corporation has agreed with BG Energy Holdings to acquire Premier Power, owner of the 1,246 MW natural gas-fired Ballylumford Power Station in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, for £99 million. The transaction is subject to license consents from the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation and the Northern Ireland Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry, and is expected to close in the second half of 2010.

The Ballylumford Power Station is a gas-fired generation facility and is the largest electricity generation site on the island of Ireland with a nominal operating capacity of 1,246 MW and consists of three stations:

•600 MW C Station commenced operations in 2003 and includes two Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT), V94.2 and V64.3 technology, with combined efficiency of 48 percent. All units have dual capacity, running on natural gas with the ability to burn distillate as back-up fuel.

•540 MW B Station was constructed in 1974 and includes three natural gas driven steam turbines, each of which has an operating capacity of 180 MW and an efficiency of 31 percent.

•106 MW, two Open Cycle Gas Turbine (OCGT) units, which began operations in 1976, provide peaking services for grid support and emergency response.

The majority of Ballylumford’s output is contracted to Northern Ireland Electricity and the affiliated agreements allow for a pass-through of fuel costs.

“Ballylumford Power Station will increase AES capacity while providing important fuel diversification and will complement our nearly two decades of operations experience serving the Northern Ireland market,” says Paul Hanrahan, president and chief executive of AES. “As a result of our strong liquidity and our familiarity with Northern Ireland, we were able to move quickly on the opportunity and acquire a business that complements our fleet.”

Northern Ireland was AES’ first international investment opportunity with its acquisition of the Kilroot facility in 1992, which today utilises coal and oil and has an operational capacity of 622 MW.

The acquisition of Premier Power builds on AES’ recent investment in Northern Ireland’s generation capacity. In 2009, AES completed a platform expansion of Kilroot through the addition of 84 MW of peaking capacity. Upon closing of the Premier Power transaction AES will have a total capacity of 1,868 MW, operating approximately 15% of the generation capacity in the Single Electricity Market (SEM), which covers Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

“Northern Ireland continues to offer a transparent and attractive investment environment. We are thrilled to have reached an agreement with BG Energy Holdings,” comments Mark Green, managing director of development for AES.

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, AES is a power company with generation and distribution businesses in more than 30 countries. The group employs 27,000 people and had revenues of $14 billion in 2009.

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