August 17, 2019
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Developers hit brakes on massive wind project in Aroostook County

Anthony Brino | BDN
Anthony Brino | BDN
Looking west from the summit of Big Rock Mountain, towards the town of Mars Hill and central Aroostook County's unorganized territories. To the southwest, on left, are the highlands around Number Nine Mountain, the proposed site of a 119-turbine wind farm.

PORTLAND, Maine — Developers of one of the largest wind projects ever planned in Maine pulled their request for a state permit, after struggling to connect to the grid and find buyers for their power.

In a Nov. 21 email, EDP Renewables notified state regulators that it was withdrawing its application for the 119-turbine Number Nine Wind Project, located about 9 miles west of Bridgewater in Aroostook County.

Kellen Ingalls, a project manager with EDP, wrote in the email that the company plans to resubmit its application “in the near future.”

The project would have the capacity to produce up to 250 megawatts of power.

Ingalls wrote that the company decided to withdraw the application due to “an unexpectedly lengthy interconnection process” that led to it losing its power purchase agreement.

In July, two Connecticut utilities terminated the agreement, signed in 2013 to line up customers for some of the power from the project, citing the delays.

If built, the project would become the state’s largest wind development to date, exceeding a 62-turbine, 185-megawatt facility in Bingham in Somerset County. The developers envisioned expanding the project up to as much as 400 megawatts of capacity.

The company was also waiting for the results of a regional bidding process, seeking a new purchase agreement with southern New England states. EDP and other Maine wind developers lost out in that process, which would have included building new transmission lines to connect to western and northern parts of the state.

But the bidding process showed that development interest in wind projects remains strong. Developers bid for about 2,140 megawatts of new wind capacity in that process, about 3.5 times the state’s wind capacity at the end of 2015.

 

Correction: A previous version of this story contained an editing error regarding the project’s capacity. Its planned maximum generation would be 250 megawatts of power.


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