Although 2010 has been slow for wind development projects from an industry standpoint, Wind
According to an October 2010 report from the American Wind Energy Association, there were just 395 megawatts of wind power-generating capacity added during the third quarter of 2010. That was the slowest quarter since 2007. For all of 2010, there has been about 1,634 megawatts of capacity added, which is a 72 percent decrease over 2009 year-to-date.
Apparently, however, no one has mentioned this to developer First Wind. The company just secured $98 million in financing -- $81 million in the form of a non-recourse construction loan and $17 million in the form of a letter of credit -- to build a 60 megawatt project (aka the Rollins Wind Project) in Penobscot County, Maine. The lead financing arrangers are Key Bank National Association and Norddeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale Nord.
First Wind says this project will generate energy for about 23,000 homes; during the construction, the project will create about 200 jobs. The facility is supposed to be online by September 2011. First Wind has approximately 125 megawatts of wind-generation capacity in Maine, not including the new project.
In a press release, First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor said:
"First Wind has been research the siting of this project for more than six years and spent more than $4 million with Maine businesses to conduct studies looking at everything from economic benefits to environmental impacts. We appreciate the excellent support we've received from the vast majority of the people in the region, and we look forward to being excellent community partners."
Actually, First Wind has raised $357 million in financing since September, including this new project. The other financing includes $247 million an expansion of a project in Milford, Utah, and $12 million for the Steel Winds property in Lackawanna, N.Y.
Does First Wind's success signal a potential turn around for wind development? Signs are certainly encouraging, between this new financing and the massive Google commitment to approximately 6,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity in the Atlantic Wind Connection.