First Wind Holdings and Emera (TSX: EMA) said June 15 that they have closed their transaction to jointly own and operate wind energy projects in the Northeast United States through a new company called Northeast Wind Partners.
Boston-based First Wind will transfer its 385-MW portfolio of wind projects in the Northeast to Northeast Wind Partners. First Wind retains 51% and Emera now owns 49% of the new company. First Wind will serve as the managing partner and will continue to run the wind projects.
Emera affiliate Emera Energy Services will provide energy management services. First Wind will exclusively manage the development business and as such continue to develop new projects in the Northeast. Once these projects meet certain eligibility criteria, First Wind has the ability to transfer up to an additional 1,200 MW of new projects into the new joint venture, the parties said.
“Our First Wind partnership helps Emera establish a meaningful position in the Northeast renewable energy market and is consistent with our corporate strategy,” said Emera President and CEO Chris Huskilson. “This partnership also allows us to demonstrate our commitment to Maine and the region both through existing and anticipated new Maine-based projects.”
Emera already owns Maine Public Service, which is a regulated electric transmission and distribution utility.
“This is an exciting partnership for First Wind that will allow us to invest in new, well-sited and well-run wind projects that deliver clean energy to homes and businesses across the Northeast,” said First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor. “We see an enormous opportunity to continue to deliver cost-effective clean, renewable energy so that Northeastern states can meet their important renewable portfolio standards.”
Emera has invested a total of $211m to acquire 49% of Northeast Wind Partners. In addition, Emera is making a $150m loan to an intermediate subsidiary company of Northeast Wind Partners, which will be repaid in five years. Emera will finance this transaction through existing credit facilities.
First Wind is an independent wind energy company. Its website indicates that it develops and operates wind power projects in the Northeast as well as the western United States, including Hawaii. Only projects in the Northeast will be part of the new venture, however, a First Wind spokesperson said by phone June 18.
As for Emera, it invests in electricity generation, transmission and distribution, as well as gas transmission and utility energy services. Emera has investments throughout northeastern North America, in three Caribbean countries and in California. More than 80% of the company’s earnings come from regulated investments. The company’s headquarters is listed as Halifax, Nova Scotia.