Power Finance & Risk is pleased to announce the short list for the following award: Transmission Deal of 2019.

Transmission projects are among the most difficult to develop. We have selected three deals from 2019 in this category. Please let us know if your firm is missing from the credits.

GridLiance West

Transmission assets are among the toughest to develop in the US, but Blackstone portfolio company GridLiance is pioneering a new approach, collaborating with electric cooperatives, municipalities and others to invest in grid improvements to facilitate renewable energy development while keeping upfront costs low. To finance its assets in Caiso, the company obtained revolving credit facilities in a holdco-opco structure with investment grade ratings. The deal closed on or around August 2. Coverage here.

Sponsor: GridLiance (Blackstone)

Total debt: $185 million

Lead arranger and rating agency adviser: KeyBanc Capital Markets

Lenders: CoBank, National Cooperative Services Corp

Rating agencies: Fitch Ratings, Kroll Bond Rating Agency

Borrower’s counsel: Eversheds Sutherland (financing), Holland & Hart (local), Paul Hastings (regulatory), Childs, Watson & Gallagher (real estate)

Lenders’ counsel: Norton Rose Fulbright

Trans Bay Cable

At $1.09 billion, the Trans Bay Cable was one of the most valuable single power sector assets to change hands in 2019. The underwater cable also provides as much as 40% of San Francisco’s peak demand and is federally designated as a critical asset. It is NextEra Energy Resources’ second major operational rate-regulated transmission asset after the Lone Star project in Central Texas. NextEra bought it from Steelriver Infrastructure Partners in three stages, the last of which closed on July 16. Coverage here.

Seller: Steelriver Infrastructure Partners

Buyer: NextEra Energy Transmission (NextEra Energy Resources)

Enterprise value: $1.09 billion

Assumed debt: $422 million

Sell-side financial adviser: Wells Fargo Securities

Buy-side financial adviser: RBC Capital Markets

Seller’s counsel: Winston & Strawn

Buyer’s counsel: Pillsbury Winthrop (transaction), Ellison Schneider Harris & Donlan (regulatory) 

Wataynikaneyap Power

The C$1.9 billion Wataynikaneyap transmission project is the first of its kind to be majority-owned by First Nations, the largest indigenous-led infrastructure project in Canada, and will be the most far-reaching First Nations grid connection in Ontario when it is completed. Its socio-economic value has been placed at $900 million. The project obtained a C$1.34 billion loan from Ontario’s energy ministry and a C$680 million loan from Canadian banks on October 29. The First Nations limited partner holdco meanwhile obtained a C$220 million equity loan, guaranteed by the province under the Aboriginal Loan Guarantee Program, from two life insurance companies. Coverage here.

Sponsors: First Nations LP (24 First Nations), FortisOntario (Fortis)

Minority investor: Liberty Utilities (Algonquin Power)

Total value: C$1.9 billion

Project debt: C$2.02 billion

LP equity loan: C$220 million

Lenders: Government of Ontario, RBC, CIBC, National Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, TD Bank

LP equity lenders: Manulife, Sunlife

Project counsel: Torys

Counsel to First Nations LP: Stikeman Elliott

Counsel to Fortis: Davies

Lenders’ counsel (banks): Osler Hoskin & Harcourt

Lenders’ counsel (equity loan): McCarthy Tétrault

Counsel to the Government of Ontario: Fasken

Counsel to Ministry of Finance: Blaney McMurtry

Counsel to the Government of Canada: McMillan

Counsel to Algonquin: Fogler

EPC: Valard Construction

Counsel to Valard: McLean & Armstrong

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