Algonquin Power & Utilities, the Canada-based utilities group and renewables developer, agreed to acquire Bermuda’s primary electric utility, and plans to integrate more renewables and batteries onto the British Overseas Territory.
Algonquin said Monday that it will spend $365 million buying 100 percent of the outstanding shares in Ascendant Group, owner of the Bermuda Electric Light Company (Belco), the sole utility providing generation, transmission and distribution services to Bermuda’s 70,000 residents and businesses.
Algonquin said it will bring its experience as owner of various electric and gas utilities as well as a growing renewables development arm to help Bermuda prepare its grid for the 21st century.
“In addition to Ascendant customer and employee benefits coming from the scale of our existing utility operations, we are confident that our demonstrated capability in renewable energy development can help Bermuda realize...its carbon-reduction aspirations,” said Algonquin CEO Ian Robertson in a statement.
Bermuda lies 665 miles east of North Carolina in the Atlantic Ocean. Like many islands, Bermuda’s electricity system faces unique challenges and opportunities as it prepares for a more unpredictable climate in the decades ahead.
Belco has 165 megawatts of installed generation capacity, with a 2018 rate base of $290 million, Algonquin said. Bermuda is the most populous British Overseas Territory, and is home to a thriving insurance and reinsurance industry.
The deal underscores Algonquin’s aggressive expansion beyond Canada in recent years, joining Canadian compatriots like Northland Power in making a name for itself on the global renewables stage. Algonquin, based outside Toronto, is currently building 600 megawatts of wind capacity in the U.S. Midwest through its Missouri utility, Empire District.
In 2017 Algonquin launched a joint venture with Spanish infrastructure group Abengoa, known as Abengoa-Algonquin Global Energy Solutions (AAGES), to pursue international growth. It has also amassed a 41.5 percent stake in Atlantica Yield, owner of 1.4 gigawatts of renewables capacity spread across four continents.
The acquisition of Belco will be made through the AAGES joint venture. The deal is expected to close in late 2019.