The electric utility operation of Freeport, a privately financed entity, originated as a department of the Grand Bahama Port Authority Limited (GBPA), the founders of Freeport in 1956. For the first seven years, the operations were intermingled with the other activities of the Port Authority in developing Freeport. In the early 60s, however, it was apparent that Freeport was growing rapidly and a separated company was formed to handle power generation, transmission and distribution. This company, Freeport Power Company, was formed in 1964, with 12 employees.
The first generation plant was at Cedar Street and consisted of two small diesel generators. This was the sole generation plant until 1997, when three more diesel units were installed at Peel Street, and was the start of the current generation base.
- Early ’90s: At the invitation of the GBPA, Southern Company made its first offshore investment and acquired a 50% interest in Freeport Power Company.
- 1993: Mirant, Southern Company’s international spin-off, acquired 50 percent of Grand Bahama Power Company (at that time named Freeport Power Company) and assumed management control.
- April 15, 1993: ICD Utilities (ICDU)* was incorporated for the purpose of acquiring 50% of the issued shares in Grand Bahama Power. The authorized share capital of the company consists of 10,000 ordinary shares, par value B$0.10, all of which are outstanding. Their shares are traded on the Bahamas International Securities Exchange.
- 1996: ICDU, the other 50% owner in Grand Bahama Power, sold 25% of its shares to employees and the general public and 25% to Mirant.
- 2001: Mirant’s share of ICDU was reduced to 10%.
- August 9, 2007: Marubeni Caribbean Power Holdings, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Marubeni Corporation of Japan, completed the purchase of equity shares of Mirant Caribbean Holdings, including 55% equity interest in Grand Bahama Power.
In September 2008, Emera announced the purchase of 25% of Grand Bahama Power through its acquisition of 50% of the shares of ICDU. In December 2010, Emera acquired an additional 55.4% interest in Grand Bahama Power, bringing its direct and indirect interest in Grand Bahama Power to 80.4%.
*ICDU shares are available on the Bahamas Stock Exchange
Electricity is at the heart of Emera’s business
Emera began as Nova Scotia Power, a company with a 120-year history of generating and distributing electricity to about one million people in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia.
This government-owned crown corporation became a shareholder-owned, regulated utility in 1992. The company further evolved with the re-organization of Nova Scotia Power to a holding company in 1998 — a move that transformed the company from an electricity company into a diversified energy and services company.
The company launched the Emera brand in 2000 to better reflect the diversity of Emera’s energy business. From its base in the production, transmission and distribution of electricity, Emera has expanded its geographic borders and its energy lines of business.
Emera’s core business is electricity. Nova Scotia Power was the first, but not the only, utility that Emera owns. Emera moved beyond its Nova Scotia roots with the purchase of Bangor Hydro Electric Company in Maine in 2001, then Maine & Maritimes in 2010, and has expanded into the Caribbean and Californian markets.
Emera continues to grow and diversify
Emera’s energy investments extend beyond electricity to gas pipelines, independent power, energy services and support.
In 1998, Emera acquired a 12.9% interest in the Maritimes & Northeast Pipeline. The company later went on to conceive and build the 145-kilometer Brunswick Pipeline in Saint John, New Brunswick, which was completed in 2009.
Emera has a growing interest in renewable energy and innovative technology, with investments in OpenHydro Group Limited, an Irish renewable tidal energy company, and Atlantic Hydrogen Inc., a clean technology company.
- Owns a 50% interest in Bear Swamp, a pumped-storage hydroelectric generating facility in Massachusetts.
- Created Emera Utility Services in 2000, the largest utility services contractor in Atlantic Canada.
- Created Emera Energy Services in 2002, a physical energy business and Atlantic Canada’s premier energy marketing operation.
- Purchased Bayside Power, a 260-megawatt gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Saint John, New Brunswick in 2009.
- Acquired Maine & Maritimes Corporation in Northern Maine in December of 2010.
- Formed a joint venture with Algonquin Power in January, 2011 to buy and operate the Californian assets of Sierra Pacific Power through a newly formed utility, California Pacific Electric Company.
- Expanded its presence in the Caribbean, with close to 80% ownership of both Grand Bahama Power Company and Light & Power Holdings in Barbados. This, along with Emera’s previous investment of 19% in St. Lucia Electric, provides Emera with a business of scale in the region.
Emera: a proud history of innovation, safety and people
Some of Emera’s hydro facilities are more than a hundred years old, meaning they have been around literally since the very birth of the industry. Emera was one of the first utilities in Canada to install wind turbines to generate power for its customers. The company built the first pulverized coal plant in North America at the turn of the last century and also built the largest clean coal unit in the world in 1994. Emera runs the only tidal power plant in North America and, in the fall of 2009, the company deployed another first: a test turbine for new in-stream tidal power technology. Emera has a history of innovation and is very proud of that tradition.