60-MW First Wind Project Approved by Maine DEP

First Wind has received approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for its proposed 60-megawatt (MW) Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County, Maine. First Wind filed its permit application with the DEP on October 31, 2008.

Situated in the towns of Lincoln, Burlington, Lee, Winn and Mattawamkeag, the Rollins Wind project will consist of 40 GE 1.5-MW turbines. Construction on Rollins Wind is planned to commence later this year.

“We appreciate the review of this application by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection,” said Matt Kearns, First Wind’s vice president of development for New England. “We are grateful for the support we received from the surrounding communities during the process of securing this important permit for the Rollins Wind project, and we look forward to this continued partnership as we work to make this project a reality.”

Rollins Wind is expected to create numerous construction jobs and provide significant tax revenue to the surrounding communities. For example, First Wind spent US $50 million with Maine-based businesses and employed over 350 workers during the construction of Stetson Wind, a 57 MW project in Washington County that has been in operation since January 2009.  The Rollins Wind project is expected to provide similar benefits to the region.

In a related story, First Wind has obtained a US $376 million financing for its 203.5-MW Milford Wind Corridor Phase I project in Milford, Utah. The Royal Bank of Scotland plc was lead arranger for this loan.

“To obtain this kind of financing in these challenging credit markets is a testament to the project and the commitment of our stakeholders, including Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA), our landowner group including the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Utah, our contractor and subcontractors, our host counties of Beaver and Millard, and of course our lenders,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.

The Milford Wind Project will generate up to 203.5 MW of clean energy upon its completion. It will be one of the largest renewable energy facilities in Utah and the largest wind energy project in the state. The Milford project will feature 97 wind turbines, including 58 of Clipper’s 2.5-MW Liberty turbines and 39 of GE’s 1.5-MW GE turbines.

First Wind has a 20-year power purchase agreement with SCPPA, on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and the cities of Burbank and Pasadena.

First Wind expects to complete construction of this project by the end of 2009. Major construction on the project, along with an 88-mile transmission line to Intermountain Power Plant in Delta, began in late March. Project managers expect turbines to be erected at the site in the early summer. Once completed, it will be First Wind’s largest project.

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