Since achieving commercial operations five years ago, the successful Maine project has expanded while generating enough energy to power 18,300 Maine homes
First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of successful commercial operations of its 57 MW Stetson I Wind project. Since it began commercial operations on January 23, 2009, the first phase of the Stetson Wind project has produced enough energy to power an average of 18,300 Maine homes annually over the last five years.
After a successful expansion in 2010, the Stetson Wind project today has a combined generating capacity of 83 MW and remains one of the largest operational utility-scale wind farms in New England. Located in Maine’s Washington County, the two phases of the Stetson Wind project provide significant local revenue, including a total of $4 million in tax payments that will continue to be made to the surrounding communities for the next 20 years.
Below is a summary of some of the notable milestones achieved during the five years of successful commercial operations of the Stetson Wind project:
- The renewable power generated has been supplying clean, renewable electricity to approximately 18,300 Maine homes in each year since the first phase of the project went online.
- In March 2010, First Wind completed a second phase of the project, expanding the project capacity by 26 MW from 17 turbines positioned on the neighboring Jimmy and Owl Mountains. When Stetson II is combined with the first phase of the project, the Stetson Wind project has a generating capacity of 83 MW. Combined, the two projects power more than 26,000 homes.
- At Stetson I, based on data recently published by the U.S. EPA’s Emissions and Generation Resource Integrated Database (E-GRID), generating an equivalent amount of electric energy from a traditional fossil fuel burning facility would have required about 1.28 million barrels of oil or 369,000 tons of coal over the five year period, yet has none of the associated toxicity, health, or cost issues.
- Traditional Maine fossil fuel generation sources producing an equivalent annual amount of electric energy as Stetson I would emit annual greenhouse gases (GHG) consisting of about 52,300 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Economic and Community Benefits
- The two phases of the Stetson Wind project provide significant local revenue including a total of $4 million in tax payments to the surrounding communities over the next 20 years.
- The property tax revenues fund county infrastructure, conservation and economic development projects.
- Payments from the project’s tax agreement have helped fund economic development projects such as marketing efforts for a seafood pie company, installing high speed internet service in Big Lake Township, helping fund the restoration of a campground on the Machias River in Township 25, and assisting the transition of commercial blueberry land to organic management and production in Trescott.
- First Wind has worked with the Forest Society of Maine to establish the $100,000 Stetson Mountain Fund. The Fund provides recreational opportunities in the Baskahegan Stream watershed.
- The Stetson Wind project sponsors and offers the community several local events and programs including an annual snowmobile rally, the East Grand Adventure Race that traverses the Stetson ridge, and annual scholarships for college-bound high school seniors from the surrounding area.
In addition to the 83 MW Stetson Wind I and II projects, First Wind has three other operational wind projects in Maine including the 42 MW Mars Hill Wind project in Aroostook County, the 60 MW Rollins Wind project in Penobscot County, and the 34 MW Bull Hill Wind project in Hancock County. These five facilities have the capacity to generate 219 MW, enough to supply clean power for the equivalent of more than 95,000 households.
First Wind has invested $600 million in wind projects in Maine. Looking at future investments in the coming years, First Wind has long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) secured for four additional wind projects in development including the 51 MW Hancock Wind project in Hancock County, the 148 MW Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, the 48 MW Bowers Wind project in Penobscot and Washington Counties, and the 186 MW Bingham Wind project in Somerset County.