First Wind Secures $76 Million Financing for Sheffield Wind Power Project

With financing in place, First Wind will continue on schedule with construction of the largest wind energy project to date in Vermont. Construction began in September, 2010.

As part of the financing, First Wind closed a $71.3 million non-recourse construction loan and a $4.5 million letter of credit facility for the Sheffield Wind farm project. KeyBank National Association (Keybank) served as the sole lead arranger for the financing. In addition to the financing, JPM Capital Corporation has executed a tax equity financing agreement for up to $60 million with a subsidiary of First Wind. When the project goes into commercial operation, JPM Capital Corporation will provide long-term capital to take out a large portion of the construction loan, with the remaining portion converting to a term loan with Keybank.

This is an important milestone in the development and construction of our Sheffield Wind project, said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. This financing shows that the capital markets recognize that this is a strong, well-planned project and that wind power is viable in Vermont. We appreciate the commitment of our financial partners, which will help First Wind deliver clean, renewable energy for Vermont residents and businesses, as well as significant economic benefits in terms of construction jobs, local tax revenues and work for local businesses.

First Wind has been researching this project for more than six years and spent more than $7 million with Vermont businesses in developing it, Gaynor added. ¿We¿d like to thank all of our supporters within the Sheffield community, our utility PPA partners, a committed group of Vermont-based consultants and attorneys and groups such as Renewable Energy Vermont for helping us move this beneficial project forward.

Since the end of September, First Wind has raised $435 million in financings and repaid $149 million in short-term wind turbines supply loans. Financings include the funds for the Sheffield Wind project; $98 million for the Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County, Maine; $247 million for the 68 wind turbines expansion of its Milford Wind farm in Utah; and $15 million for its Steel Winds facility in Lackawanna, New York. First Wind has raised more than $2.7 billion in financings since January 2009.

We are very pleased to have played a leading role in First Wind¿s financing of the Sheffield project, said Andrew Redinger, managing director and head of Power & Utilities at KeyCorp. We applaud First Wind¿s long term dedication that brings significant investment to Vermont. The financing of the Sheffield project demonstrates the solid fundamentals of the wind project that will provide an excellent source of renewable power for Vermont ratepayers.

Located in the Town of Sheffield in the Northeast Kingdom, the project will bring clean, renewable power to Vermont homes and businesses. Sheffield Wind has the capacity to generate enough power for more than 15,000 Vermont homes or about 45 percent of the homes in the Northeast Kingdom. The renewable power generated by the project will be sold through Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to three Vermont utilities including the Burlington Electric Department (BED), the Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc. (VEC) and the Washington Electric Cooperative, Inc. (WEC). VEC and WEC both provide power to several towns in the Northeast Kingdom, so much of the power produced in Sheffield will stay within the area.

During construction, it is estimated that the project will create about 200 jobs. Once it is operational, the Town of Sheffield will receive $520,000-a-year in tax revenues, which can be used toward roads, schools, police, fire and more. The general contractor on the project, RMT, Inc., began construction on the project in mid-September and is hiring many Vermont-based businesses and subcontractors to work on the project. The project is expected to be online and operating sometime in the fall of 2011.

First Wind currently has four projects with a capacity to generate up to 232 MW of power in various stages of construction. In addition, construction of a battery storage system is underway for a fifth project, a 21 MW expansion of a project in Hawaii.

Today’s financing is a great way to top off what has been an excellent year for First Wind. Like we do everywhere, we¿ve worked very hard to develop and build the Sheffield project the right way, Gaynor added. We’re excited to take another step forward on this project.

First Wind is an independent wind energy company exclusively focused on the development, financing, construction, ownership and operation of utility-scale wind projects in the United States. Based in Boston, First Wind has wind projects in the Northeast, the West and in Hawaii, with the capacity to generate up to 504 megawatts of power and projects under construction with the capacity to generate up to an additional 232 megawatts.