VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, Aug. 28, 2009 (Marketwire) -- NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc. (TSX VENTURE:NKW) ("NaiKun Wind") today announced the appointment of Philip Hughes as Chair of its Board of Directors, effective October 1, 2009, and the retirement of Michael C. Burns, current Board Chair, effective September 30, 2009.
Over the course of his career, Philip Hughes has served as President and CEO of five energy companies across Canada. Most recently Hughes was a senior executive with the Fortis Inc. group of companies and led the operations as President and CEO of several Fortis Inc. subsidiaries including FortisAlberta, Newfoundland Power Inc., Maritime Electric Company and FortisBC. Hughes is also a past Officer of the World Energy Council, former Chair of the Canadian Electrical Association, and former Chair of the Energy Council of Canada.
"Philip's 25 years of leadership in Canada's energy sector is a tremendous asset to NaiKun Wind," said Michael C. Burns. "Since he joined the NaiKun Wind board early last year, we've benefitted from his extensive knowledge on the generation and transmission sides of the business. His background as a chartered accountant is also invaluable."
Michael C. Burns joined NaiKun Wind in 2002 and has served in the roles of Chairman, President and CEO. Burns led the development of NaiKun Wind's strong relationships with First Nations communities, assembled the company's management team and board of directors, and played a key role in shaping the company's strategic direction. Burns led several equity financings that contributed to the solid financial position that NaiKun Wind enjoys today. Burns has been appointed as a non-executive member of the board.
"On behalf of the NaiKun Wind team, I would like to thank Mike for all of his contributions to the company and the project over the years. Mike really has been the driving force behind NaiKun Wind's success," said Paul Taylor, President and CEO of NaiKun Wind. "I look forward to working with Philip and the leadership that I know he will continue to bring to the board."
The quarter ended June 30, 2009 marked continued progress on development of the company's 396 MW offshore wind energy project in Hecate Strait, off British Columbia's northwest coast. Major accomplishments during the quarter ended June 30, 2009 include the following:
- The signing of a memorandum of understanding, on August 13, with the Haida Enterprise Corporation, acting on behalf of the Haida Nation, to acquire up to 40 per cent of the wind energy project. The acquisition is consistent with the original objective of bringing in a strategic equity partner that can contribute to the success of the project. The Haida Nation will be seeking the support of the federal government for the proposed ownership position. The agreement is contingent on the successful conclusion of the environmental assessments being conducted by the Haida Nation and the federal and provincial governments. The strengthening of NaiKun Wind's partnership with local First Nations is well aligned with the increased focus on First Nations relations in the new criteria for the Clean Power Call announced by BC Hydro on August 24, 2009.
- The acceptance, on May 20, by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office of NaiKun Wind's application for an environmental assessment certificate. The project is on track to receive environmental approvals by the end of 2009. Open houses were held in Prince Rupert, Masset and Queen Charlotte City, with Haida community meetings taking place in Old Massett and Skidegate as well. The 45-day public comment period ended July 12, validating public support for the project.
- Continued construction planning, including meetings with a shortlist of companies that can assist NaiKun Wind in the management and implementation of the project as a whole and of the specialized marine construction activities. A final decision in expected in the near future.
The board also approved NaiKun Wind's third quarter financial results. During the quarter ended June 30, 2009, NaiKun Wind incurred a net loss of $2.68 million ($0.07 net loss per share), compared to a net loss of $4.53 million ($0.12 net loss per share) for the same period in 2008.
At June 30, 2009, NaiKun Wind had $16.14 million in cash and cash equivalents, compared to $19.52 million at the end of March 2009.
NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc. (www.naikun.ca) is a British Columbia-based renewable energy company with offices in Vancouver, Masset and Skidegate. The 396 MW offshore wind energy project will generate enough energy to provide electricity to 130,000 B.C. homes, help the province reach its goal of becoming electricity self-sufficient by 2016, and play a significant role in combating climate change. The proposed project will also create an estimated 200 jobs during construction and 50 permanent jobs for maintenance and operations. NaiKun Wind is committed to working in partnership with First Nations and collaboratively with stakeholder groups and local communities in the development of its project.
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements - This news release contains certain forward-looking statements, including statements regarding the business and anticipated financial performance of the Company. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from results contemplated by the forward-looking statements. When relying on forward-looking statements to make decisions, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, oral or written, made by itself or on its behalf.
Philip Hughes' full biography is appended to this news release on NaiKun Wind's website: http://www.naikun.ca/news_media/news_releases.php.
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