New Projects, Renewables, Wind

First Wind begins construction on Maine wind power project

U.S.-based renewable energy company, First Wind, began construction on the 148-MW Oakfield wind project in Aroostook County, Maine.

Representing First Wind’s sixth project in Maine and the company’s largest in New England, the Oakfield Wind project will provide $27 million in tax and community benefit payments to the town of Oakfield and the surrounding community over the next 20 years.

The power that will be generated by the project is contracted to be sold to four Massachusetts utilities as part of a 15-year contract, and will generate enough clean energy at cost-competitive rates to power the equivalent of about 50,000 New England homes.

Situated about 2.5 miles from the center of the town of Oakfield, the Oakfield Wind project will be constructed on the low-lying ridges of the Oakfield Hills, and will use pre-existing commercial logging roads and infrastructure. Work on the project will include the installation of 48 Vestas V-112 wind turbines. The project is expected to reach commercial operations by the end of 2015.

The financing package for the combined wind farm and generator lead, with a total construction cost of about $369 million, includes a $237 million construction loan and $132 million of equity contribution. KeyBank National Association served as the joint lead arranger and administrative agent on the construction loan.

Once complete, the Oakfield Wind project will increase the total capital expenditures made by First Wind for wind projects sited in Maine to over $1 billion. The company currently has five operational wind projects in Maine including the 42-MW Mars Hill Wind project in Aroostook County, the 83-MW Stetson Wind I and II projects in Washington County, the 60-MW Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County, and the 34-MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County. These combined facilities have a 219-MW capacity.

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