SunEdison finalizes $2.4 billion purchase of First Wind

Posted Jan. 29, 2015, at 7:06 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2015, at 9:36 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — SunEdison closed its $2.4 billion purchase Thursday of First Wind, placing the latter’s five Maine wind-to-energy facilities under the umbrella of the world’s largest renewable energy company, officials said.

The SunEdison deal was finalized at about 5 p.m., several hours after First Wind bought back its ownership interest in Northeast Wind Partners II LLC from Nova Scotia-based Emera for $223.2 million, SunEdison spokesman John Lamontagne said. The purchases were first announced in November.

“With the acquisition of First Wind, SunEdison becomes the leading renewable energy developer in the world,” Ahmad Chatila, president and CEO of SunEdison, said in a statement. “By combining SunEdison’s leading solar development platform with First Wind’s platform, SunEdison is well positioned to drive significant growth in global renewable energy markets, and deliver immediate shareholder value.”

Lamontagne called the SunEdison purchase “an exciting development. It will give us the opportunity to build and operate more clean energy projects around the country and in Maine.”

First Wind had five wind farms in operation in Maine, including one in Mars Hill, two sites on Stetson Mountain, Rollins Wind near Lincoln and Bull Hill Wind near Eastbrook in Township 16.

Based in Massachusetts with an office in Portland, First Wind had wind- and solar projects in construction or operating in the continental U.S. and Hawaii totaling nearly 1,300 megawatts.

SunEdison spinoff TerraForm Power Inc. will oversee First Wind’s approximately 500 megawatts of operating wind power plants and 21 megawatts of operating solar power plants. Those include the five Maine wind farms.

SunEdison, based in St. Peters, Missouri, will assume control of the First Wind projects in development, Lamontagne said. Those include 357 megawatts in development or under construction in Maine — including the Weaver Wind, Bowers Wind, Molunkus Wind and Somerset Wind projects.

SunEdison’s investment will likely help speed the development of First Wind’s unrealized projects, Lamontagne said, but what projects will be fast-tracked remains unclear.

The Bowers project is listed as in development despite permit denials by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and a pending appeal with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

A Public Utilities Commission decision released Monday cleared the way for Emera’s sale of its First Wind interests. An order from the commission stated that Emera’s plan to sell back its ownership interest was exempt from the reorganization approval requirements under state laws that protect ratepayers.

That was the last hurdle the proposed deal had to clear, Emera spokeswoman Dina Bartolacci Seely said.

“We conclude that there is no real risk that the proposed sale back might negatively impact the financial integrity of the regulated utility, Emera Maine or Emera Maine’s ratepayers,” according to the 11-page document, which was dated Monday. “No further process or approval is required for Emera to proceed with this transaction.”

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that an appeal of a permit denial of First Wind’s Bowers Mountain project was pending before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection.

 

CORRECTION:

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that an appeal of a permit denial of First Wind’s Bowers Mountain project was pending before the Maine Board of Environmental Protection. It is pending before the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

SEE COMMENTS →