First Wind signs offtake deal for most of 51-MW wind project

First Wind and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. (MMWEC) announced Dec. 16 an agreement that will bring energy from First Wind’s Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine, to 17 Massachusetts municipal utilities.

Under a 25-year, fixed-price contract, First Wind will sell nearly 75% of the power and capacity generated at the 51-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.

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 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’s renewable energy efforts include the financing and development of numerous wind and solar resources in conjunction with its member utilities. Such resources include the 15-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.

“As a Massachusetts-based company, we’re excited to bring clean wind power to 17 cities and towns in our home state,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “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 located near the operating 34-MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County, Maine, which began operations in November 2012. First Wind currently operates five wind projects in Maine and one in Sheffield, Vermont. In addition, First Wind is currently building four solar projects in Massachusetts, which will be in operation in 2014.

First Wind develops, finances, builds and operates utility-scale renewable energy projects throughout the United States. Based in Boston, First Wind currently operates wind facilities in the Northeast, the West and Hawaii, with combined capacity of more than 1,000 MW.

MMWEC is a non-profit, public corporation and political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that provides a variety of power supply, financial, risk management and other services to the state’s consumer-owned, municipal utilities.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.