First Wind starts building 148-MW Oakfield project in Maine

First Wind was joined Sept. 24 at a ceremony by community and industry leaders to commemorate construction of the company’s 148-MW Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, Maine.

“First Wind is excited to be building the Oakfield Wind project, which is not only our sixth project in Maine, but what will be our largest project to bring clean, cost-competitive renewable energy to New England,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “The Oakfield project has been something we’ve wanted to build for almost a decade, and we’re thrilled to say that it will be finished by the end of next year.”

This power is contracted to be sold to four Massachusetts utilities as part of a 15-year contract. Situated about 2.5 miles from the center of the town of Oakfield, the Oakfield Wind project will be constructed on the low-lying ridges of the Oakfield Hills. Work on the 148-MW wind project will include the installation of 48 Vestas V-112 turbines. It is expected to reach commercial operations by the end of 2015.

“As a partner in construction on every one of First Wind’s wind projects in Maine, we are proud to again collaborate on the Oakfield Wind project,” said Jack Parker, President and CEO, Reed & Reed. “Over the years we have been able to see how much of a positive impact these projects have made on local business communities and the significant investment impact throughout the State of Maine.”

The financing package for the combined wind farm and generator lead, with a total construction cost of approximately $369m, includes a $237m construction loan and $132m of equity contribution. KeyBank National Association (NYSE: KEY) served as the joint lead arranger and administrative agent on the construction loan.

Once complete, the Oakfield Wind project will increase the total capital expenditures made by First Wind for wind projects sited in Maine to over $1bn. The company currently has five operational wind projects in Maine including: the 42-MW Mars Hill Wind project in Aroostook Count; the 83-MW Stetson Wind I and II projects in Washington County; the 60-MW Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County; and the 34-MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County.

First Wind also has three wind projects in advanced development including: the 51-MW Hancock Wind project in Hancock County; the 48-MW Bowers Wind project in Penobscot and Washington counties; and the 186-MW Bingham Wind project in Somerset County.

Based in Boston, First Wind is operating or building renewable energy projects in the Northeast, the West and Hawaii, with combined capacity of nearly 1,300 MW.

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.