By Donna M. Perry, Staff Writer
Lewiston Sun Journal news story
REDINGTON TOWNSHIP – A proposed mountain ridge wind farm has already sold its first 10 years of renewable energy.
The deal will offer business customers who sign up for wind-generated power a fixed price for a decade.
The planned $130 million Redington wind farm project calls for 30 wind turbines atop Black Nubble and Redington Pond Range mountains. They’re about 4 miles west of Sugarloaf Mountain in Carrabassett Valley in northern Franklin County.
The agreement between Maine Mountain Power and Constellation NewEnergy, a subsidiary of Constellation Energy based in Baltimore, Md., that was announced Wednesday, calls for the power to be offered to medium and large-sized business customers – schools, colleges and hospitals – with first priority going to customers in the immediate area.
Pricing of the so-called green energy will depend on factors including volume, said Larry McDonnell, spokesman for Constellation NewEnergy.
Under the contract, Constellation NewEnergy agreed to buy all of the output from Maine Mountain Power’s proposed 90-megawatt Redington Wind Farm.
“It is important to us to be able to provide for customers an option of renewables,” McDonnell said. Green, renewable energy is becoming more attractive to customers every day, he added.
Maine Mountain Power is seeking a permit from the state Land Use Regulation Commission for the wind farm. The company’s project also includes utility lines and access roads.
An application to rezone of 1,004 acres of the ridgeline for the purpose of developing the project was accepted by the state for processing in February.
A public hearing on the proposal has not been set yet.
Project representatives say the wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 44,000 households. The wind-driven generators are expected to reduce air emissions in the region by 860,000 pounds, or 430 tons daily.
“This is a milestone contract for wind energy in New England,” said Harley Lee, president of Endless Energy in Yarmouth. Endless Energy is developing the project with California-based Edison Mission Group. “Our region has lagged behind other parts of the country in the use of wind energy. A major reason has been the lack of a power marketer willing to sign long-term contracts. Constellation NewEnergy has really stepped up to the plate here and provided a key ingredient for wider use of wind energy in the region,” he continued in a news release touting the deal.
Western Mountain Power wanted to offer the power first to customers who live near the wind farm and then to other Maine customers. Constellation NewEnergy agreed with the concept, Lee stated.
Bruce McLeish, director of origination for Constellation NewEnergy’s New England region, stated in the release that customers who sign up for the power will pay a fixed price for a decade and won’t experience the price volatility often seen with power generated by fossil fuel plants.