September 20, 2013

Maine wind farm chosen to provide electricity to Conn.

The Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn.  — Two clean energy projects in Connecticut and Maine have been selected to help diversify Connecticut's energy portfolio.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Friday that a wind energy farm in Maine and a solar installation planned for land in Sprague and Lisbon have each signed long-term contracts to provide electricity to the state's two largest power distributors, Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating. The contracts still require state regulatory approval.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection chose the two projects after reviewing 47 proposals, submitted in response to legislation authorizing the state to procure energy from renewable sources. The state hopes to obtain 20 percent of its total electric power from clean energy sources by 2020.

"We are very elated by the results here," said DEEP Commissioner Dan Esty, noting how the cost of power from the two projects will average less than 8 cents per kilowatt hour, which he said is close to the cost of power generated by conventional fossil fuel plants. Also, that price will be locked in for the duration of the contracts — 20 years for the solar project and 15 years for the wind farm.

The two projects are expected to generate 270 megawatts of energy by the end of 2016, or 3.5 percent of the state's total energy load, according to the department.

The Number Nine Wind Farm is a 250-megawatt wind farm to be located in Aroostook County in Maine. It is being developed by EDP Renewables North America LLC, which describes itself as one of the largest players in wind energy worldwide.

The Fusion Solar Center is a 20-megawatt solar photovoltaic system planned for land that's owned primarily by Fusion Paperboard Co. The project's developer is HelioSage Energy, a Virginia-based solar project development firm. In 2011, HelioSage was chosen to develop a solar farm for CL&P in Somers.

Esty said his department will probably seek bids next month from companies that develop electricity from biomass and landfill gases to help procure additional renewable energy for the state's portfolio. DEEP officials are also meeting with officials in other states about procuring hydroelectric power from large-scale sources, but Esty said the state might select other renewable energy companies given the recent response for proposals.

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