Wind energy from First Wind’s Mars Hill Project providing affordable power

First Wind announced a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with New Brunswick Power to sell all of the energy from First Wind’s Mars Hill wind farm site. The four year deal replaces the PPA set to expire in December of this year. Mars Hill’s energy output will stay local and be distributed to homes and businesses in Northern Maine by New Brunswick Power, which won the opportunity earlier this year to provide standard offer service to all customer classes in Northern Maine. At the time, the Maine Public Utilities Commission called the 10-21 percent price decreases under NB Power’s standard offer supply a “sharp reduction” in electricity prices.

“Ratepayers and businesses in Maine will be the direct beneficiaries of this deal. Northern Maine consumers have seen their electric bills go down, and locally-produced wind power is one of the energy sources being used,” said Michael Alvarez, president and CFO of First Wind.

Mars Hill Wind, which features 28 turbines with the capacity to generate up to 1.5 Megawatts (MW) each, was the first utility-scale wind energy project in New England. The 42 MW project was commissioned on March 27, 2007. The prior PPA entailed the power being sold to New Brunswick Power, and then to ISO-New England, where it was distributed to New England homes and businesses.

The new arrangement will distribute the power directly to local ratepayers in Northern Maine. The transmission fees that First Wind has been paying – $1 million per year since 2007 – will continue to be paid under this new arrangement.