First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, announced that construction of its 34 megawatt (MW) Bull Hill Wind Farm has been completed and commercial operations have begun.
Located on the ridges of Bull Hill and Heifer Hill in Hancock County, Maine, the wind farm features 19 1.8 MW wind turbines that have the capacity to generate enough clean energy to power nearly 18,000 homes.
“The power from Bull Hill Wind is part of a diverse, responsible energy portfolio that includes renewable resources generated right here in New England”
“We are very pleased to complete work on our Bull Hill Wind project, which represents our fifth project in Maine to achieve commercial operations,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind.
“It is a testament to our partners across the state and region, as well as supportive business, citizen and local political leaders that we have been able to complete this project ahead of schedule. The Bull Hill Wind project will serve as a source of cost-competitive renewable energy and a boost to the local economy through tax revenues and ongoing operations.”
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. We’re looking forward to delivering clean, renewable wind energy from this project to our customers for years to come.”
Construction on the Bull Hill Wind project started earlier this year 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.