Local leaders, community members and businesses join First Wind at ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the project’s environmental and economic benefits.

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Boston, MA [WorldofRenewables.com]

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, today marked the completion of the 26 MW expansion of its Stetson Wind project. To celebrate the commencement of commercial operations of the expansion, also known as the Stetson II project, First Wind hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony today attended by state and local officials, students and teachers from a nearby school, business and community leaders and environmental organizations at the project site in Danforth, Maine.

“Today, we are very pleased to commemorate the successful expansion of our Stetson Wind project,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “Not only is the Stetson Wind project currently the largest wind energy project in operation in Maine and New England, but it is also a powerful example of the strong economic impact that these projects can have on the region. During construction, First Wind spent millions with Maine-based businesses and created hundreds of development and construction jobs.”

The first phase of the Stetson Wind project was a 57 MW facility that commenced operations in January 2009. In March 2009, First Wind received approval from the Maine Land Use Regulation Commission to build the 26 MW expansion or second phase of its Stetson Wind project. Breaking ground in November 2009, the expansion was managed by the dedicated team at Reed & Reed and created about 200 construction jobs to install the 17 additional GE 1.5 MW wind turbines. When combined with the first phase of the project, the Stetson Wind project is now an 83 MW clean, renewable energy facility. First Wind hires in-state businesses to conduct much of the needed work.

“The completion of the Stetson Wind expansion reflects another chapter in our successful partnership with First Wind, and I’m pleased to report that the project was safely constructed and was completed on-time and on-budget,” said Jack Parker, President of Reed & Reed, the Woolwich, Maine general contractor for the project. “In addition to bringing jobs to many Maine construction workers during a tough economic time, Reed & Reed has worked with the local subcontractors and service providers to maximize the project’s benefits to the local community.”

Last year, Harvard University announced that it will purchase half of the power generated by the Stetson Wind II facility as well as the associated Renewable Energy Certificates.

The Stetson II project has generated business for dozens of companies all across Maine – from engineering, environmental and development firms to grocery stores, hotels and gas stations.

“The Stetson Wind project has been a huge economic driver for the region,” said Harold Clossey, Executive Director of Sunrise County Economic Council. “From the very beginning, First Wind has been committed to ensuring that Washington County benefits from this project, and I’m pleased to report that local businesses have never been busier.”

Students from the East Grand High School joined in the ceremony and took a brief look inside a wind turbine.

“The East Grand School is very pleased to be here today to celebrate this wind project,” said Principal David Apgar. “Our students are studying wind power and their dedicated science teacher, Andrew Latvis, has encouraged his students to get a solid understanding of this clean, renewable power source.”

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