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Large clients backing wind farm proposal

REDINGTON TOWNSHIP -- Schools, hospitals, and colleges in western Maine will be the first in line to buy electricity from a Franklin County wind farm under a new deal struck with the state's leading electrical retail supplier.

Maine Mountain Power, a division of the Yarmouth-based Endless Energy, announced this week that Constellation NewEnergy will buy all the energy generated over the next 10 years from its proposed 90-megawatt wind farm in Redington Township north of Sugarloaf ski area.

Constellation NewEnergy is a subsidiary of the Baltimore-based Constellation Energy that merged last year with Florida Power & Light.

In Maine, York Hospital and Bates College in Lewiston are among a growing list of organizations that have contracted with Constellation New Energy to purchase renewable energy credits.

The University of Maine at Farmington, a strong advocate for sustainable energy, likely would be solicited to be a wind energy customer.

"We would consider it but we want to wait and see," UMF facilities management director Robert Lawrence said Thursday. "There is an added expense for green power and we also would need to look at the term of the lease. Ten years is too long for us."

Constellation NewEnergy, through certified renewable energy credits, will give first priorly to industrial and large commercial customers in the local area. Customers would pay a fixed price for 10 years, avoiding the price volatility... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  
Maine Mountain Power, a division of the Yarmouth-based Endless Energy, announced this week that Constellation NewEnergy will buy all the energy generated over the next 10 years from its proposed 90-megawatt wind farm in Redington Township north of Sugarloaf ski area.

Constellation NewEnergy is a subsidiary of the Baltimore-based Constellation Energy that merged last year with Florida Power & Light.

In Maine, York Hospital and Bates College in Lewiston are among a growing list of organizations that have contracted with Constellation New Energy to purchase renewable energy credits.

The University of Maine at Farmington, a strong advocate for sustainable energy, likely would be solicited to be a wind energy customer.

"We would consider it but we want to wait and see," UMF facilities management director Robert Lawrence said Thursday. "There is an added expense for green power and we also would need to look at the term of the lease. Ten years is too long for us."

Constellation NewEnergy, through certified renewable energy credits, will give first priorly to industrial and large commercial customers in the local area. Customers would pay a fixed price for 10 years, avoiding the price volatility often associated with power from fossil fuel-powered plants, according to the company.

The $130 million wind farm project, if approved by Maine's Land Use Regulation Commission this summer, would have 30 turbines on towers 260 feet high, each topped with three, 190 foot long blades.

Constellation NewEnergy spokesman Larry McDonnell on Thursday said people often want to know if the renewable electricity they buy is actually getting to their meters.

It doesn't work that way with energy credits, he said.

"We are a supplier of renewable sources that go into the electricity grid," he said. "It reduces the need for generation from nonrenewable sources and the renewable power is dedicated to that customer."

The wind farm has drawn some local opposition over the years since the turbines would be visible from the ski area and sections of the Appalachian Trail.

In a 2003 survey designed by Endless Energy with the help of the Appalachian Mountain Club and the Appalachian Trail Conference, over three-quarters of snowmobilers, hikers, skiers and locals indicated they were supportive or neutral regarding the project.

Dennis Bailey, spokesman of Maine Mountain Power, points out the area already has a ski slope, a U.S. Navy survival training school and a biomass plant.

"People have to decide if it is a reasonable trade-off in return for renewable, independent energy source," he said.

Beth Nagusky, Gov. John E. Baldacci's director of energy independence, said Thursday that the announcement is "added proof that there is high demand for a clean, renewable energy resource. The demand is there. The hardest problem is the siting and permitting of these projects."

Alison Hagerstrom, the director of Greater Franklin Development Corporation, said her organization supports the project. "A renewable green source of energy is a plus and it will bring between 10 and 20 jobs to the area."

"This is a milestone contract for wind energy in New England," Endless Energy founder Harley Lee said in a release. "Our region has lagged behind other parts of the country in the use of wind energy."

Betty Jespersen -- 778-6991



Source: http://kennebecjournal.main...

APR 8 2006
https://www.windaction.org/posts/2075-large-clients-backing-wind-farm-proposal
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