Monday, July 28, 2008

Update: I met Dave from First Wind

On Thursday night while I was at Shooters with some friends I met Dave....we started talking and I immediately found out that he works for First Wind. First Wind is the Mass based company who's built the towers on Mars Hill, Stetson Mountain and eventually will build on Rollins Hill.
Weird right? Well, he's part of the data collection team, they put up wind towers on land that's being evaluated for wind resources. It sounded like a cool job, they come up to Lincoln for about 2 weeks every couple months and check on the towers, collect the data and put up new towers if needed.

Anyways he said that things are moving along smoothly in Lincoln and while he did not have a time frame for when they would start building he said he did expect to see the towers functional before the end of 2009.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

tifs being proposed for the Rollings Wind Project

First Wind will seek tax breaks in the form of tifs from the town of Lincoln, thereby sheltering the increased valuation of this investment down the road. The tif will allow Lincoln to keep the majority of tax revenues but it will also require the town to invest in economic and community development. Sounds like a good idea to me...

Here is the detailed article from the Bangor Daily

Lincoln: Wind developer to seek 4-town tax breaks

By Nick Sambides Jr.


LINCOLN, Maine - A Massachusetts firm that is Maine’s first and largest wind power producer will seek tax breaks from four Lincoln Lakes towns that will host its proposed $120 million wind farm, officials said Wednesday.

If all goes well, First Wind will be applying by the end of the year for permits to build 40 1.5-megawatt windmills creating as much as 60 megawatts of electricity on sites in Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn.

Concurrent with that effort will be applications to secure tax-increment financing deals from those towns, said John LaMontaigne, First Wind’s spokesman.

Such tax breaks, LaMontaigne said, provide "a critical foundation that helps us ensure the viability of the project."

"We have spoken with officials [from the towns], and they have been receptive to the idea," he said. "TIFs provide tax stability, or certainty, that we find very helpful."

When a town realizes an increase in valuation created by an investment, it also experiences a reduction in its share of state revenues and an increase in county taxes. A TIF allows a town to "shelter" the new valuation from the calculations of state revenue sharing, education subsidy and county tax assessment — in effect creating more money for the town, usually over 20 years.

With a TIF, however, the money that a town gains must be invested in community economic development projects, such as industrial parks or infrastructure improvements that aid businesses.

In 2007, TIFs given to Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC and other companies brought Lincoln about $238,000 in captured tax dollars that the town invested in itself, Economic Development Director Ruth Birtz said.

The investments include funds reserved for the development of Lincoln Industrial Park West, a proposed industrial park to be located near Lincoln Regional Airport; a new GPS mapping system the town uses; new streetlights downtown; several downtown beautification efforts; and the budgeting of some salaried positions, Birtz said.

"Because the cost of developing those turbines is so expensive, it helps give them a little more breathing room on their high investment," Birtz said.

The windmills would be built on two sites on the Rollins Mountain range and Rocky Dundee Road areas that run north to south through Lincoln from Burlington to Lee and Winn, LaMontaigne has said.

Lincoln would have 19 or 20 turbines; Winn, three; Lee, seven; and Burlington, 12. Two turbine sites are listed as alternates. The company also would install a 115,000-volt transmission line that would run from the north end of Rollins Mountain to a Mattawamkeag connection to the New England grid.

Evergreen Wind Power LLC, a subsidiary of First Wind, would begin seeking permits by late summer. Construction would finish in late 2009 at the earliest.

First Wind is building a 38-turbine farm in Stetson Mountain between Danforth and Springfield and operating a 28-turbine wind farm in Mars Hill. Those communities have also secured TIFs for the projects.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rollins Wind Project Announced

Well, it's official. First Wind has laid the groundwork for a wind project in the towns of Lincoln, Lee, Burlington and Winn. First Wind, a company headquartered in Newton Massachusetts with offices in Portland sat down with town management last week to line out the proposal. Further info is posted on the weekly news within the lincolnmaine.org website. Here is a direct link

And, here is the recent article from the Bangor Daily

Lincoln: Area poised to be top wind farm site

By Nick Sambides Jr.


LINCOLN, Maine — Four Lincoln Lakes region towns will be home to New England’s largest wind energy facility and a company headquarters employing five to seven people if a Massachusetts firm realizes its plans, company officials said Monday.

With 40 1.5-megawatt windmills creating as much as 60 megawatts of electricity on sites in Burlington, Lee, Lincoln and Winn, the proposed Rollins Wind farm would slightly outproduce the 38-turbine Stetson Mountain site being built between Danforth and Springfield and the 28-turbine wind farm operating in Mars Hill.

If all goes well, Evergreen Wind Power LLC, a subsidiary of First Wind of Massachusetts, would begin seeking permits by late summer. Construction would finish in late 2009 at the earliest, said Ryan Chaytors, a senior development associate with First Wind, which was known as UPC Wind until May 1.

"We are still in the early stages. We have a lot of study yet to do," Chaytors said after his presentation Monday to the Town Council. "We’re very excited to be in Lincoln. We have had a lot of support from town officials so far."

The 40 turbines would cost about $22 million total. They would be built on two sites on the Rollins Mountain range and Rocky Dundee Road areas that run north to south through Lincoln from Burlington to Lee and Winn, company spokesman John LaMontaigne said.

Lincoln would have 19 or 20 turbines; Winn, three; Lee, seven; and Burlington, 12. Two turbine sites are listed as alternates. The company also would install a 115,000-vote transmission line that would run from the north end of Rollins Mountain to a Mattawamkeag connection to the New England grid.

At the 60-megawatt peak, Rollins Wind would sell enough electricity wholesale to power 23,000 New England homes annually. Given wind’s inconsistency, company officials expect the site would produce considerably less, about 168,000 megawatt hours annually. That’s a conservative estimate. Mars Hill produced 150,000 megawatt-hours in 2007, much more than expected in its first year, Chaytors said.

The company, which has had test turbines on Rocky Dundee Road since January, needs to finish testing before it decides whether to proceed, said Matt Kearns, project manager with First Wind. But the test sites have proved successful thus far.

Council Chairman Steve Clay and Town Economic Development Assistant Ruth Birtz called First Wind’s interest good news for Lincoln because power from the farm will flow into the New England power grid for sale to power companies.

It will not provide electricity directly to homeowners, but the farm would provide a hedge in New England against the runaway electricity costs and brownouts that have been seen in California. It might eventually provide electricity for industrial sites like Lincoln Paper & Tissue LLC.

The wind farm will establish Lincoln as a major industrial site for the fledgling — at least in New England — wind power industry. About 300 workers would live in the area during construction, boosting hotels, restaurants and other places workers would frequent and providing work to local subcontractors. The turbines also would provide tax revenues to the communities.

"I’m very pleased that we have a major resource, wind, that will be utilized," Birtz said. "We would never have thought of it as a resource."