Layoffs at Naikun Wind as company awaits word from Hydro

  • Feb. 22, 2010 1:00 p.m.

Naikun Wind Energy Group has laid off 25 percent of its workforce in an effort to conserve cash. Spokesperson Doug McClelland says the Masset and Skidegate offices will remain open and Chris Ashurst and Tana Hooper who work in those offices are still employed. But he said cuts to the 17-person company were made because it has no source of revenue while waiting to hear whether it receives a BC Hydro contract. “It’s simply a matter of conserving cash because the process for BC Hydro to award contracts has dragged on,” he said. BC Hydro said they would award Clean Power Call contracts last December, but has since asked for an extension from the BC Utilities Commission. This is not the first extension said Mr. McClelland, who now expects the company will hear by the end of next month. Mr. McClelland says after the contract awards are announced, the contracts must be negotiated and then approved by the BCUC. (Hydro announced in November that 13 companies would be awarded contracts from a short-list of 48) “The project is still alive and well and we are still optimistic we will get a contract with Hydro,” he said. In the meantime, with no revenue, all company expenses represent losses. Naikun reported at the end of December it had $11.52 million in cash and cash equivalents, down $2.8 million from September. Naikun has heard nothing further about the Haida’s environmental assessment of the project or the planned Haida vote on it. Mr. McClelland said the vote will be about the option for the Haida to become part owners of the wind farm. In August 2009, HaiCo and Naikun signed a memorandum of understanding giving HaiCo the opportunity to acquire up to 40 per cent of the 396 MW project. The Observer asked the Council of the Haida Nation about the date of the vote and was told that it has not been set yet.