First Wind, an independent U.S.-based renewable energy company, today announced that it has closed financing for its 148 megawatt (MW) wind project in Aroostook County, Maine. With financing in place, First Wind will continue on schedule with construction with commercial operations expected in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Oakfield Wind project will create approximately 300 jobs during construction and provide $27 million in tax and community benefit payments to the town of Oakfield and the surrounding communities over the next 20 years.
“We applaud First Wind’s long-term dedication that brings significant investment to Maine. The financing of the Oakfield project demonstrates the solid fundamentals of the wind project that will provide an excellent source of renewable power.”
“We are very pleased to close the financing for our Oakfield Wind project,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “By securing financing, we will be able to continue construction activities on our sixth wind project in Maine. We appreciate the commitment from our financial and construction partners, and we are grateful for the long-term support we have received from the residents and community leaders in the town of Oakfield. It is exciting to see this project move forward as it will deliver significant direct investment into the local economy while serving as a source of cost-competitive clean energy.”
The financing package for the combined wind farm and generator lead, with a total construction cost of approximately $369 million, includes a $237 million construction loan and $132 million of equity contribution. KeyBank National Association (NYSE:KEY) served as the joint lead arranger and administrative agent on the construction loan.
“We are very pleased to have played a leading role in First Wind’s financing of the Oakfield project,” said Andrew Redinger, managing director and head of KeyBanc Capital Markets’ Utilities, Power & Renewable Energy Group. “We applaud First Wind’s long-term dedication that brings significant investment to Maine. The financing of the Oakfield project demonstrates the solid fundamentals of the wind project that will provide an excellent source of renewable power.”
Situated about 2.5 miles from the center of the town of Oakfield, construction activities on the Oakfield project will continue with a completion and generation date predicted for the fourth quarter of 2015. Vestas will supply 48 V-112 turbines with a capacity of 3.075 MW each to the Maine project. Construction commenced in late 2013 and the Oakfield project will qualify for the federal wind energy Investment Tax Credit.
The power that will be generated by the Oakfield Wind project is contracted to be sold to customers of four Massachusetts utilities as part of a 15-year contract, and will generate enough clean energy at cost-competitive rates to power the equivalent of about 50,000 New England homes.
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