Renewable energy company First Wind closed financing for its 148 MW wind energy project in Aroostook County, Maine. With financing in place, First Wind will continue on schedule with construction with commercial operations expected in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The Oakfield Wind project will create about 300 jobs during construction and provide $27 million in tax and community benefit payments to the town of Oakfield and the surrounding communities over the next 20 years.
The financing package for the combined wind farm and generator lead, with a total construction cost of about $369 million, includes a $237 million construction loan and $132 million of equity contribution. KeyBank National Association (KEY) served as the joint lead arranger and administrative agent on the construction loan.
Situated about 2.5 miles from the center of the town of Oakfield, construction activities on the Oakfield project will continue with a completion and generation date predicted for the fourth quarter of 2015. Vestas will supply 48 V-112 wind turbines with a capacity of 3.075 MW each to the Maine project. Construction commenced in late 2013 and the Oakfield project will qualify for the federal wind energy Investment Tax Credit.
The power that will be generated by the Oakfield Wind project is contracted to be sold to customers of four Massachusetts utilities as part of a 15-year contract, and will generate enough clean energy at cost-competitive rates to power the equivalent of about 50,000 New England homes.
First proposed in 2008, the Oakfield Wind project received approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in January of 2012. In 2011, town of Oakfield residents voted 81-21 to approve the tax and community benefit agreement.
Once complete, the Oakfield Wind project will increase the total capital expenditures made by First Wind for wind projects sited in Maine to over $1.25 billion. The company currently has five operational wind projects in Maine including the 42 MW Mars Hill Wind project in Aroostook County, the 83 MW Stetson Wind I and II projects in Washington County, the 60 MW Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County, and the 34 MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County. These combined facilities have a 219 MW capacity, enough to supply clean power for the equivalent of more than 90,000 households every year.