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First Wind projects 50 percent portfolio growth following passage of wind energy tax credit

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, hopes to increase its operating portfolio of wind projects by 50 percent or more after the recent extension of the federal tax credits by Congress last week.

The effort could mean that thousands of people will be employed building new First Wind projects over the next few years along with millions of dollars in investment and new revenue generated for host communities and others, while delivering cost-competitive clean energy to more homes across the country. First Wind currently operates 980 MW of wind projects in 6 states across the United States.

“With the passage of the wind energy tax credit extension, First Wind and other wind energy companies around the country have predictable federal policy in place that will allow for millions of dollars of investment in local communities over the next few years,” said Paul Gaynor, chief executive officer of First Wind. “We are planning to substantially expand our portfolio – by as much as 50 percent or more – with several projects starting construction by the end of 2013. That will mean jobs and investment, and consumers will be getting clean energy at a competitive price.”

The extension of the wind energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) and Investment Tax Credits for wind energy projects will allow for the continued growth of cost-competitive wind energy in the United States. In 2012, wind energy was the most-installed new electrical generating capacity in America. First Wind alone commissioned five new projects in four states last year.

The bill passed would cover all wind projects that start construction in 2013. The new legislation includes language that projects meeting certain criteria by December 31, 2013 to be “in construction” will be eligible for the tax credits. First Wind already has a number of projects in late stages of development that could be ready for early construction work by the end of the year. Some of the prospective projects that could meet the criteria include several projects in Maine, along with possible projects in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah and Hawaii. In addition, First Wind is also exploring possible projects in other areas of renewable energy to complement the company’s nearly 1,000 MW wind power portfolio.

Nearly 1,000 people worked on the construction and development of the 5 wind projects First Wind brought online in 2012.