Mars Hill could be the first large-scale wind project built in the northeast state of Maine. It is far enough along in development to be built this year if Congress extends wind's federal production tax credit (PTC) in time, says Peter Gish, secretary of Evergreen Wind Power LLC, which is developing the project. But with an extremely short construction window -- between June and November -- the project seems more likely for 2005. "This project is a great example of what happens when the PTC is delayed," Gish says. "If it's not passed by the end of March or April, we will literally lose a whole year." With financing by Fortis Capital Corp, the 49.5 MW project has the local permits needed and is waiting for final approval by the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The project, which will use GE 1.5 MW turbines, is strongly supported by the town of Mars Hill, which submitted the application to the DEP as a co-applicant with Evergreen. Gish says his company "spent time with regulators and avian folks to be sure it was sensitive to their needs" and predicts approval by the DEP in April. He is negotiating power purchase agreements with a couple of buyers, but would not say who they are.
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