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Bull Hill wind power project completed

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, has completed construction of its 34 megawatt (MW) Bull Hill Wind project and commercial operations have begun. Located on the ridges of Bull Hill and Heifer Hill in Hancock County, Maine, the project features 19 1.8-MW wind turbines that have the capacity to generate enough clean energy to power nearly 18,000 homes.

Now that the project has started operations, Hancock County and Eastbrook will receive an average aggregate tax payment of approximately $100,000 annually for the next 20 years and an additional $240,000 annually in community benefit payments – more than $7 million in total. In addition, First Wind is providing a public safety communication tower to Hancock County for improved communications for the safety and rescue departments in the county.

The cost-competitive clean electricity generated by the Bull Hill Wind project will be sold to NSTAR under a long-term power purchase agreement, which First Wind won in a competitive solicitation by NSTAR as they were seeking a low cost source of energy. In August of 2011, NSTAR and First Wind entered into a 15-year fixed-price contract for the output from the project. The cost savings due to the fixed-price contract are expected to save NSTAR ratepayers about $57 million over the life of the contract.

“The power from Bull Hill Wind is part of a diverse, responsible energy portfolio that includes renewable resources generated right here in New England,” said James Daly, vice president of Energy Supply at Northeast Utilities, parent company of NSTAR. “The Bull Hill project will help NSTAR meet our goal of providing renewable energy to homes and businesses as outlined by the Massachusetts Green Communities Act.”

Construction on the Bull Hill Wind project started in 2012, and created an average of 200 construction-related jobs while generating significant revenue for the surrounding communities. Maine-based contractor Reed & Reed led the construction process and hired mostly Maine-based businesses and subcontractors to work on the project. In addition, First Wind worked with its turbine supplier to ensure that the turbine shipments, including towers, blades and other equipment, went through nearby Searsport to maximize the economic benefits for the local community.

“Reed & Reed and our team of local subcontractors have worked on all of First Wind’s projects here in Maine,” said Jack Parker, president and CEO of Reed & Reed, a heavy construction firm based in Woolwich. “We have seen time and time again how First Wind projects like Bull Hill positively impact the community and state. Along with the generation of clean, local energy, these projects have been among the most notable when it comes to economic development. Maine’s wind power projects have created hundreds of jobs, provided millions of dollars for important community projects and they have directly lowered property taxes in a number of host communities. Bull Hill is an excellent example of how a project can support Maine people and local businesses.”