First Wind in pact with MMWEC for Hancock Wind project

By Editor


First Wind, a U.S-based renewable energy company, has signed a contract with the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) to bring clean energy from First Wind’s planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine, to 17 Massachusetts municipal utilities.

Under a 25-year, fixed-price contract, First Wind will sell nearly 75 percent of the power and capacity generated at the 51 megawatt (MW) wind farm to MMWEC.

Consistent with its nonprofit, Joint Action Agency model, MMWEC will resell the power and capacity at cost to 17 of its member municipal utilities, which are based in the communities of Boylston, Chicopee, Groton, Holden, Holyoke, Ipswich, Mansfield, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Russell, Shrewsbury, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield, West Boylston and Westfield.

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Burlington Electric Department in Vermont is purchasing the remaining energy from the Hancock Wind project.

“This contract brings competitively priced energy from the Hancock Wind project to the MMWEC power portfolio and to the customers of our municipal utilities,” said Ronald C. DeCurzio, CEO of the MMWEC. “It also brings a valuable measure of diversity and price stability to the MMWEC resource mix at a time when the region’s reliance on natural gas is of concern.”

MMWEC has been involved in the financing and development of several wind and solar resources in conjunction with its member utilities. Such resources include the 15-megawatt (MW) Berkshire Wind Power Project in western Massachusetts and several smaller municipal wind and solar projects.

The MMWEC portfolio also includes ownership of more than 700 MW of natural gas, oil and nuclear generation in New England, which also is sold at cost to municipal utilities.

Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind, said, “The Hancock Wind project will deliver affordable, pollution-free electricity to customers in these communities. Finalizing this agreement is a major step forward for this project. We look forward to moving toward construction on this project and making a major economic investment in Down East Maine.”

When built, the Hancock Wind project will feature 17 turbines with a capacity of 3 MW each and be situated near the operating 34 MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County, ME, which began operations in November 2012.

The energy from the Hancock Wind project is being sold to MMWEC at a cost-competitive price that will help to stabilize the utilities’ rates over the 25 years of the contract, First Wind said.

First Wind currently operates five wind projects in Maine and one in Sheffield, VT. Combined, the six projects generate enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes. In addition, First Wind is currently building four solar projects in Massachusetts, which will be in operation in 2014.

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