The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has called on First Wind to prove it will still have the financial capacity to build three wind farms following a court's recent decision to deny a joint venture between the developer and Emera.
In March, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled against the state Public Utilities Commission's (PUC) approval of the JV and sent the matter back to the regulator for redetermination. The decision affects four wind energy developments in Maine, all of which had a portion of their financing funded by Emera.
Construction on the Oakfield Wind project is under way. The Hancock Wind project has been approved by the DEP, but construction has not yet commenced. The Bingham Wind project application materials are now under review, and the DEP has denied the Bowers Wind project, but that decision is under appeal.
The DEP says it is concerned project financing has been affected by the Supreme Court's decision and has requested that First Wind submit revised financial documents for three of the affected projects. The department says submission of revised financial capacity documents for the Bowers Wind project needs to wait until after the conclusion of the appeal process.
John Lamontagne, a First Wind spokesperson, says the developer has invested almost $1 billion in Maine to date and doesn't plan on stopping there. The company will work to try and prove its financial capacity to the DEP and has every intention to move forward with all four projects.
"The Emera joint venture provides an important, but certainly not the only, source of capital for First Wind's Northeast projects," he explains. "For example, First Wind closed on a $75 million bond offering last week. That offering is further evidence of First Wind's ability to raise capital from other sources and the attractiveness of these projects to investors."
Lamontagne adds that First Wind is confident the joint venture with Emera will be successful. "The PUC has outlined a process by which they will review the joint venture, and we will follow that closely," he says.