Wind energy part of NB Power deal that has reduced rates for northern Maine consumers.

Mars Hill, ME

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First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, today announced a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with New Brunswick Power to sell all of the energy from First Wind’s Mars Hill wind farm site. The four-year deal replaces the PPA set to expire in December of this year. Mars Hill’s energy output will stay local and be distributed to homes and businesses in Northern Maine by New Brunswick Power, which won the opportunity earlier this year to provide standard offer service to all customer classes in Northern Maine. At the time, the Maine Public Utilities Commission called the 10-21 percent price decreases under NB Power’s standard offer supply a “sharp reduction” in electricity prices.[1]

“Ratepayers and businesses in Maine will be the direct beneficiaries of this deal. Northern Maine consumers have seen their electric bills go down, and locally-produced wind power is one of the energy sources being used,” said Michael Alvarez, President and CFO of First Wind. “Local wind power is a cost-effective alternative to Maine ratepayers. This is an excellent win-win for Aroostook County residents.”

Mars Hill Wind, which features 28 turbines with the capacity to generate up to 1.5 Megawatts (MW) each, was the first utility-scale wind energy project in New England. The 42 MW project was commissioned on March 27, 2007. The prior PPA entailed the power being sold to New Brunswick Power, and then to ISO-New England, where it was distributed to New England homes and businesses.

“NB Power is pleased to be working with our partners in Northern Maine to optimize our transmission system,” stated Gaetan Thomas, President and CEO of NB Power. “This is another example of our strategic location, which provides a benefit to NB Power and all of our customers.”

The new arrangement will distribute the power directly to local ratepayers in Northern Maine. The transmission fees that First Wind has been paying—$1 million per year since 2007—will continue to be paid under this new arrangement.

First Wind currently owns and operates three wind projects in Maine – the Mars Hill project and the 57 MW Stetson Wind I and 26 MW Stetson Wind II projects near Danforth. In addition, construction is nearly complete on the 60 MW Rollins Wind project in Lincoln. Commissioning for that project is expected in the next two months.

[1] http://www.maine.gov/tools/whatsnew/index.php?topic=puc-pressreleases&id=184156&v=article08

About First Wind
First Wind is an independent wind energy company exclusively focused on the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of utility-scale wind projects in the United States. Based in Boston, First Wind has wind projects in the Northeast, the West and in Hawaii, with the capacity to generate up to 635 megawatts of power and projects under construction with the capacity to generate up to an additional 121 megawatts. For more information on First Wind, please visit www.firstwind.com or follow us on Twitter @FirstWind.

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