November 14, 2012

Maine wind farm generating power, cash

The Associated Press

EASTBROOK – A new 19-turbine wind farm with capacity to supply the equivalent energy needs of 18,000 homes has been completed, the developer said Wednesday.

Boston-based First Wind said its 34-megawatt Bull Hill project, on the ridges of Bull Hill and Heifer Hill about 15 miles northeast of Ellsworth, has begun generating electricity.

With the windmills making power, the county and the small town of Eastbrook will receive an average aggregate tax payment of about $100,000 per year for the next two decades, plus $240,000 a year in community benefit payments, for a total of more than $7 million, First Wind said.

First Wind also is providing a communication tower to be used by county public safety and rescue departments.

The utility NSTAR and First Wind have a 15-year fixed-price contract for the project's electricity. That will help NSTAR meet its goal of providing renewable energy to homes and businesses as outlined by Massachusetts law that encourages energy efficiency, the company said.

"We're looking forward to delivering clean, renewable wind energy from this project to our customers for years to come," said James Daly, vice president of energy supply for Northeast Utilities, parent company of NSTAR.

The wind farm employs about 10 full-time workers, some of whom were enrolled in the wind-technology course at Northern Maine Community College, said First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne.

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