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First Wind, Avista announce start of commercial operations at Palouse Wind project in Eastern Washington

Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012

First Wind, an independent U.S.-based wind energy company, and Avista (NYSE: AVA) today announced that construction of the Palouse Wind project has been completed and commercial operations have begun. Located in Eastern Washington, the 105 megawatt (MW) First Wind project will be included in Avista’s diverse resource portfolio and will have the capacity to generate enough renewable wind energy to power the equivalent of approximately 30,000 of Avista’s customers’ homes.

“Palouse Wind is a good fit for CIRI and complements our diverse and developing portfolio of energy assets and experience.”

In addition, First Wind announced it has obtained a $50 million tax equity financing from Cook Inlet Region, Inc. (CIRI).

“We are very pleased to complete work on our Palouse Wind project and begin generating clean, renewable wind energy right here in Eastern Washington. This is our first project in Washington, and we’re proud to be a part of this community,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of First Wind. “It is a testament to our partners, including Avista, whose commitment to the acquisition of competitive clean energy for its customers was critical in moving this project forward and our tax equity partner, CIRI, whose investment underscores the strength of this project.”

The 105 MW project features 58 state-of-the-art Vestas V100-1.8 MW turbines installed at the project site situated between the town of Oakesdale and State Route 195 on the hills surrounding Naff Ridge.

During construction, the Palouse Wind project pumped more than $25 million of direct spending into the regional economy and created hundreds of construction-related jobs and drove significant revenue for local businesses. Now in full commercial operations, the Palouse Wind project will continue to contribute to the local economy and is now the largest renewable energy facility in Whitman County.

“It’s good for our customers and communities to have Palouse Wind right in our backyard,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities. “Palouse Wind will help us continue to provide our customers with renewable energy at some of the lowest prices in the country, while benefitting the local economy with jobs and tax revenues.”

Source: Business Wire

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