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Maine moves closer to its first wind farm

Maine moved a step closer to its first wind farm last month with the announcement of a ten year power purchase agreement between Constellation NewEnergy and the proposed 90 MW Redington Mountain project. The $130 million project, planned for a pair of mountain ridges north of the Sugarloaf ski area in Redington Township, will consist of 30 Vestas 3 MW turbines, including 12 on Redington Mountain and 18 on Black Nubble Mountain. The project's developer, Maine Mountain Power, is a partnership formed by Endless Energy of Yarmouth, Maine, and Edison Mission Group of California. Constellation NewEnergy is a subsidiary of Baltimore-based Constellation Energy, which merged last year with Florida Power & Light. "This project has been under development for quite some time," says Endless Energy's Harley Lee. "It's very hard to site a wind project in New England because the population is dense and there are a lot of not-in-my-backyard types." Another factor, at least until recently, is that nobody was signing long-term power agreements. "That's because New England has gone through a lot more utility restructuring than much of the rest of the country and the utilities got out of the power-buying business," says Lee. "But Constellation NewEnergy really stepped up to get this done." The 90 MW project's timeline includes a public hearing this summer followed by permits. "We'd like to have it online by fall of 2007," says Lee. The six-state New England area had a collective total of 9 MW of wind power installed at the end of last year. "I think the point is that New England is ready to catch up with the rest of the country," Lee says.

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