December 17, 2017
The Point Latest News | Poll Questions | Long Creek | Tax Reform | Opioid Epidemic

Maine wind loses, solar wins in regional clean energy bids

By Darren Fishell, BDN Staff
Updated:
Anthony Brino | BDN | BDN
Anthony Brino | BDN | BDN
Looking north from the top of Number Nine Mountain, 8 miles west of Bridgewater. EDP Renewables proposed expanding its 119-turbine Number Nine Wind Farm project in a bid to southern New England states seeking to contract for renewable power generation. Only a company that proposed five solar projects, including two in Maine, made the final cut.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two major electricity transmission proposals lost out in bidding to deliver wind power to southern New England utilities, but a Yarmouth-based solar company will enter contract negotiations.

A panel from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island announced Tuesday that it picked Ranger Solar among its winning bidders, though it’s not clear whether the company’s two projects proposed in Maine will be part of negotiations.

The three states selected about 460 megawatts of generation as part of joint procurement to help each state meet renewable energy purchasing goals.

The company proposed a 50-megawatt solar array at the Sanford Airport and an 80-megawatt array on 250 acres in Farmington.

A representative from Ranger was not immediately available for comment on the announcement. The company recently secured a lease for a solar array in Limestone, at the Loring Commerce Centre, the former Air Force base.

Many other bidders who had proposed projects in Maine did not make the cut.

Notably, that includes two massive transmission proposals to access wind farms in western Maine and in Aroostook County.

In total, Maine wind developers had bid in about 2,140 megawatts of capacity into the process, which is about 3.5 times the state’s wind power capacity at the end of 2015.

The bulk of that wind power was offered together with a western Maine transmission line proposed by Central Maine Power Co. and a northern Maine line proposed jointly by Emera Maine and CMP.

The northern projects that would have connected to that line include the massive 600-megawatt King Pine wind proposal initiated by the now-bankrupt SunEdison. It also included proposals from EDP Renewables to expand its previously announced Number Nine Wind Farm and to build a new 250-megawatt wind farm at Horse Mountain in southern Aroostook County, between Stacyville and Sherman.

Katie Chapman, the project manager for the Number Nine project, said the company will continue to pursue it.

“Although Number Nine wasn’t selected for the [New England] RFP, the project is still one of the best, most mature clean energy projects in New England,” Chapman wrote in an email.
“We believe that the project is more competitive than ever and will continue to pursue a power purchase agreement.”

The western line proposed connecting to another 461 megawatts from projects proposed by NextEra Energy Resources and 85 megawatts of capacity from SunEdison’s Somerset Wind proposal, which included 26 turbines spread across the townships of Johnson Mountain, Chase Stream and Misery Township.

James Torgerson, CEO of CMP’s parent company Avangrid, said in an earnings call Tuesday that the company still sees value in the projects and will likely put those proposals to Massachusetts again during a renewables procurement in 2017.

“We’re very optimistic about those two projects,” Torgerson said. “They’re good projects that should get developed, and we’ll be bidding those into the Massachusetts RFP, as I said, in combination with some hydro providers, it looks like. We’re working with them now.”

A number of other projects proposed for Maine also didn’t make the cut, according to an announcement posted to the clean energy RFP’s website Tuesday.

Developer EverPower proposed a 250-megawatt wind farm in the Washington County towns of Cherryfield and Deblois, and SunEdison proposed its 72-megawatt Hancock County project, Weaver Wind.

Patriot Renewables also had asked the three southern New England states to buy power from its 23-megawatt Canton Mountain wind farm.

Click here to view portions of the Maine-related proposals.

BDN writer Anthony Brino contributed to this report.


Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like