Boston-based First Wind announced Friday that it has obtained $98 million in construction financing for its Rollins Mountain wind farm, near Lincoln.

The company said it has closed on an $81 million construction loan and a $17 million letter of credit. Key Bank National Association and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale, based in Hannover, Germany, are the lead arrangers for the financing.

When the project goes into operation, JPM Capital Corp. will provide long-term capital to pay back the loan, the company said.

The Rollins Mountain project is a 40-turbine wind farm being built on ridges in eastern Penobscot County.

Friends of Lincoln Lakes has been fighting the project in court and before state regulators. Last month, it organized a rally at the construction site, during which five protestors were arrested.

Friday’s announcement came a week after wind opponents filed a legal appeal seeking to stop construction until First Wind could prove it had the money to complete the $130 million project.

An attorney representing Friends of Lincoln Lakes said Friday that First Wind’s announcement doesn’t change the basis for the appeal.

The group filed the appeal with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court to challenge the approval of First Wind’s permit last year by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. the DEP’s rules, First Wind had to provide documentation that it had the financial capacity to finish the project.

The group questioned the evidence that First Wind provided to gain its permit in August. It also noted that after First Wind’s failure in October to launch a public stock offering, the company acknowledged that it had yet to line up all of the financing for Rollins Mountain.

“Obviously, the DEP’s finding of First Wind’s financial capacity was incorrect,” said Lynne Williams, an attorney for the opposition group.

Williams said it is too soon to say how the group will proceed, but it wants to make a point about the DEP process.

“If nothing else comes of this,” she said, “we need to shine a light on how they make these financial capacity decisions.”

First Wind said its ability to line up financing is an important milestone for Rollins Mountain.

“It demonstrates the strength of this project and the viability of wind power in Maine,” Paul Gaynor, First Wind’s CEO, said in a prepared statement.

Rollins Mountain will have a capacity of 60 megawatts and a 20-year contract for power sales, approved by the Maine Public Utilities Commission. It is scheduled to be on line early next fall.

Staff Writer Tux Turkel can be contacted at 791-6462 or at:

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