Boston, MA and Ludlow, MA — Dec. 11, 2013 — First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Company (MMWEC) today announced an agreement that will bring clean energy from First Wind’s planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine to 17 Massachusetts municipal utilities — including Groton.
Under a 25-year, fixed-price contract, First Wind will sell nearly 75 percent of the power and capacity generated at the 51 megawatt (MW) wind farm to MMWEC.
According to Groton Electric Light Department Manager Kevin Kelly, “We have a purchase power agreement for a 500 kW share of the 51 MW project. This means we will get 1.02% of all the kW hours generated from this project. This will increase our carbon free power purchases from about 54% of our power purchased to about 57% of our power purchased.”
Consistent with its nonprofit, Joint Action Agency model, MMWEC will resell the power and capacity at cost to 17 of its member municipal utilities in Boylston, Chicopee, Groton, Holden, Holyoke, Ipswich, Mansfield, Marblehead, Paxton, Peabody, Russell, Shrewsbury, Sterling, Templeton, Wakefield, West Boylston, and Westfield. Burlington Electric Department in Vermont is purchasing the remaining energy from the Hancock Wind project.
“This contract brings competitively priced energy from the Hancock Wind project to the MMWEC power portfolio and to the customers of our municipal utilities,” Ronald C. DeCurzio, CEO of the MMWEC, said. “It also brings a valuable measure of diversity and price stability to the MMWEC resource mix at a time when the region’s reliance on natural gas is of concern.”
MMWEC’s commitment to renewable energy includes the financing and development of numerous wind and solar resources in conjunction with its member utilities. Such resources include the 15-megawatt (MW) Berkshire Wind Power Project in western Massachusetts and several smaller municipal wind and solar projects. The MMWEC portfolio also includes ownership of more than 700 MW of natural gas, oil and nuclear generation in New England, which also is sold at cost to municipal utilities.
“As a Massachusetts-based company, we’re excited to bring clean wind power to 17 cities and towns in our home state,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “The Hancock Wind project will deliver affordable, pollution-free electricity to customers in these communities. Finalizing this agreement is a major step forward for this project. We look forward to moving toward construction on this project and making a major economic investment in Down East Maine.”
When built, the Hancock Wind project will feature 17 turbines with a capacity of 3 MW each and be situated near the operating 34 MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County, ME, which began operations in November 2012. The energy from the Hancock Wind project is being sold to MMWEC at a cost-competitive price that will help to stabilize the utilities’ rates over the 25 years of the contract.
First Wind currently operates five wind projects in Maine and one in Sheffield, VT. Combined, the six projects generate enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes. In addition, First Wind is currently building four solar projects in Massachusetts that will begin operating in 2014.