The Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) has issued its written decision confirming approval of Northeast Wind Partners, a joint venture between Boston-based First Wind (51%) and Nova Scotia-based Emera (49%).
The partnership was originally approved in 2012 but subsequently appealed and remanded back to the MPUC by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. The court had argued that the proposed joint venture violated state law, as Emera is also the parent company of Maine transmission and distribution utilities. Although the MPUC again cleared the deal in July, the written decision confirms the commission's ruling.
According to First Wind spokesperson John Lamontagne, the MPUC decision officially paves the way for the joint venture. "Opponents may appeal," Lamontagne notes. "Otherwise, I believe the hurdles have been cleared."
First Wind and Emera say they formed the joint venture to mutually own and operate wind energy projects in the U.S. Northeast. The partnership covers 419 MW of wind projects, including eight operating in three states. As managing partner, First Wind is responsible for operations and business development.
‘We are pleased that the MPUC has upheld its original decision to validate the joint venture," says First Wind CEO Paul Gaynor. "We are currently reviewing the written order by the PUC. We look forward to continuing to invest in cost-competitive, clean, renewable energy projects that will benefit the Northeast, ratepayers and the environment."
Chris Huskilson, president and CEO of Emera, adds that the company appreciates and respects the MPUC's ruling. Notably, the commission's decision also reconfirms approval for Emera to own 25% of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. common shares. Algonquin is an owner and operator of clean energy generation assets across North America.