Electric Light & Power

Massachusetts cities sign deals for wind power from Maine


By Editors of Electric Light & Power/ POWERGRID International

U.S.-based renewable energy company First Wind and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co. (MMWEC) signed an agreement that will bring renewable energy from First Wind’s planned Hancock Wind project near Ellsworth, Maine to 17 Massachusetts municipal utilities.

Under a 25-year, fixed-price contract,
First Wind will sell nearly 75 percent of the power and capacity generated at the 51 MW wind farm to MMWEC.

MMWEC will resell the power and capacity at cost to 17 of its member municipal utilities, which are based in the communities of 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.

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 MW Berkshire Wind Power Project in western Massachusetts and several smaller municipal wind and solar projects.

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, which will be in operation in 2014.